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Ezra Klein touts the latest Commonwealth Fund agitprop as proof that American health care is going to Hell in a hand basket. Ironically, in his zeal to trash the U.S. system, he fails to notice that many of the survey’s findings undermine the case for universal health care. For example:
- The U.S. had better wait time stats for non-emergency surgery than any of the countries sporting “universal coverage,” except for Germany.
- Exactly the same percentages of Canadian, Australian, and U.S. patients reported inconvenience accessing care on weekends, nights, and holidays.
- The percentages of Canadian and U.S. patients reporting medical errors were comparable, particularly when the margin of sample error is considered.
- Fully 19% of Australians and 12% of Canadians had out-of-pocket medical expenses exceeding $1,000, their “free” coverage notwithstanding.
The significance of these data is pretty hard to miss. Despite enjoying “universal coverage,” Canadian and Australian patients face many of the same problems that irritate U.S. patients.
This will suggest to anyone not imbued with progressive piety that “universal coverage” is no panacea for America’s health care ills. Not that objective data matter greatly to Klein and his fellow zealots.