Really? Thank you, Alexa, for getting me reading. First some logic, then some links, copied and expanded from my earlier comment:
- What Alexa says invalidates nothing in this post. I never claimed universal health care means no pandemics. I claim universal health care can mitigate the impact. To invalidate anything in the original post, you need to get rid of swine flu, dismantle the Mexican public health coverage system, reintroduce swine flu, and see how many people die.
- Mexico, with less than a third of our population and a third of our per capita GDP, passed its "Seguro Popular" program to provide public health insurance to cover catastrophic illness for 50 million citizens who lacked coverage. Citizens pay an income-based premium, with the lowest 20% of earners exempt. The program has been a smashing success at reducing catastrophic health care costs for poor families. Boy, talk about ¡Sí se puede!
- (New!) By the way, Mexico's universal coverage isn't universal yet: President Vicente Fox signed it into law in 2003, and it's still being expanded. Then Minister of Health Julio Frenk projected a completion date of 2010.
- Interestingly, Seguro Popular has not caused an increase in utilization. That might invalidate my original argument... but it also invalidates Anon's hearsay about those darn Indians (that's what Anon is thinking) and government health care causing overutilization. However, this source gives links saying Mexico has seen an increase in mammography tests and pap smears, an immense decline in tuberculosis, and an overall improvement in the quality of rural health care.
- Mexico's health care system has been drawing all sorts of "medical tourism" from Americans who can't afford care here. U.S. hospital chains are building facilities in Mexico to cash in on medical tourism. Not that anyone's going to fly south for an appendectomy this week... but I hope you take the point.
But what about Canada, the U.K., France, and all the other industrialized countries (remember, that's all of them except the U.S.) that have universal health coverage: If all the commenters' claims here were true (they're not, but entertain me for a moment), what would be motivating those countries to keep such atrociously ineffective systems? Whose interest in Canada is served by keeping a system that doesn't work? Who would be the nexus of political pressure that keeps such bad policy in place?
And what about Mexico? With the opposing models of the U.S. and Canada to choose from, why would Mexico move toward something more like Canada than the U.S.? Whose interest does universal health care serve?
Update 10:00 CDT: Seguro Popular has improved treatment for high blood pressure.