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June 08, 2005

British and American health care systems compared

From Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal:

"Mr. Asman, could you come down to the gym? Your wife appears to be having a small problem." In typical British understatement, this was the first word I received of my wife's stroke....

Hurrying down to the gym, I suspected that whatever the "small" problem was, we might still have time to make the play. Instead, our lives were about to change fundamentally, and we were both about to experience firsthand the inner workings of British health care.

We spent almost a full month in a British public hospital. We also arranged for a complex medical procedure to be done in one of the few remaining private hospitals in Britain. My wife then spent about three weeks recuperating in a New York City hospital as an inpatient and has since used another city hospital for physical therapy as an outpatient. We thus have had a chance to sample the health diet available under two very different systems of health care. Neither system is without its faults and advantages. To paraphrase Thomas Sowell, there are no solutions to modern health care problems, only trade-offs. What follows is a sampling of those tradeoffs as we viewed them firsthand.

David Asman is an anchor at the Fox News Channel and host of "Forbes on Fox." Prior to joining Fox News he served as the Wall Street Journal's editorial features editor. He joined the newspaper in 1983 as an editorial writer, where he edited the Manager's Journal and the Americas column.  In 1994, he was named senior editor for the WSJ's editorial page, where his role was combined with administrative responsibilities.

What I quoted above just gives you a good idea of what the article is about. You really, really need to read it if you ever wondered (or assumed) about the superiority of our American health care system compared to the British socialized health care system. Obviously there are other factors that influence the result besides for-profit/socialized, but those are the main factors that make the difference.

Many people make quick assumptions about either system, and the answer is never that easy.

I tried to see if there was any information on how Mrs. Asman is doing now, but, obviously concerned with their privacy, this seems to be the only mention of her. I hope she's recovered well.

Posted by Danny Carlton at June 8, 2005 09:14 AM

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