Jimmy Kimmel, take note: your statement on Tuesday night, “Somehow Japan and England and Canada and Germany, France, they all figured health care out, and don’t say they have terrible health care, because it’s just not true,” might bear some contemplation. Here are some indications that health care in the countries Kimmel lauded might not be the bed of roses he posits:
Japan: McKinsey.com reported regarding Japan in 2009:
The conspicuous absence of a way to allocate medical resources—starting with doctors—makes it harder and harder for patients to get the care they need, when and where they need it. A vivid example: Japan’s emergency rooms, which every year turn away tens of thousands who need care. Furthermore, the quality of care varies markedly, and many cost-control measures implemented have actually damaged the system’s cost effectiveness. Meanwhile, demand for care keeps rising.
Japan Times added in February 2017: its rapidly aging society and shrinking ranks of premium-paying workers, coupled with the arrival of new drugs and technologies fetching phenomenal prices, are putting immense strains on the system, experts say, making its sustainability uncertain.
Great Britain: As The Daily Telegraph reported on July 6, 2017:
One million patients a week cannot get appointments with GPs, amid the longest waiting times on record, new figures show. Doctors said they were working “flat out” but under “unsustainable” pressure, leaving “worrying” numbers of patients without any help. The NHS figures show the number waiting at least a week to see their GP has risen by 56 percent in five years, with one in five now waiting this long.
The pressures left 11.3 percent of patients unable to get an appointment at all – a 27 percent rise since 2012. This amounts to around 47 million occasions on which patients attempted but failed to secure help from their GP, forcing them to give up, try again later or turn to Accident & Emergency departments.
The U.S.-based Commonwealth Fund, in conjunction with the Canadian Institute of Health Information, just published the results of its health policy survey of adults in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. The results indicate that Canada is not just lagging, but is literally scraping the bottom when it comes to indicators of timely access to health care. Here’s a sample of our most spectacular failures:
• Ability to get a same or next-day appointment when sick: Worst
• Ability to get after-hours care (without resorting to visiting an emergency department): Second-worst
• Wait for treatment in the emergency department: Worst
• Wait to see a specialist: Worst
• Wait for elective surgery: Worst
Germany: Even left-wing Politico admitted in October, 2016: “Drugmakers are pulling diabetes drugs from Germany, blaming government-set prices that don’t let them recoup their investment.” And health insurance rates charged by the Krankenkassen are 14.6% (plus 1.1% median supplemental premium) of a German’s monthly salary.
And lastly, France: Bloomberg reported in 2013: “The French government says the health system will fall €5.1 billion short in 2013.” In 2014, a study published in Health Research Policy and Systems stated bluntly, “Major public issues remain unresolved. These include the shortage of physicians and expensive equipment, such as MRI, and the unavailability of emergency services in many rural areas.”