Socialized Medicine in a Genuinely Socialized Country

Li Rifu and Chen Yanfe live in Shuang Miao, a rural village in east-central China’s Zhejiang Province. Last year, Mr. Li and his wife were both diagnosed with cancer.

The NYTimes reported that “Ms. Chen’s reproductive tract cancer has gone into remission after $7,000 in medical bills. But Mr. Li’s fist-size malignant prostate cancer tumor has resisted two operations and four rounds of chemotherapy.”

They have spent nearly $50,000.

Of their own money.

In China where care is nominally free.

“With payments from the local health insurance fund capped at $4,300 a person per year, Mr. Li has had to sell many of his possessions, and still he has had to go into debt.

“It is a common occurrence in this country, nominally communist, but with little or no safety net.”

Medical care is more expensive in the U.S. than in China. Health care costs are skyrocketing here and health insurance premiums have risen four times faster than wages since 2000 according to the Scranton Times Tribune .

About 46.6 million people in the United States were without health care insurance in 2005, the U.S. Census Bureau reported.

As an aside, our U.S. believers in socialized medicine would have us emulate Canada, not China. Milk in Canada costs about $8/gallon.

Our U.S. believers in socialized medicine all have plans for affordable coverage for everyone. Their plans offer to cover all essential medical services with affordable premiums, co-pays, and deductibles and guarantee eligibility. Those covered will have income sensitive federal subsidies to buy the mandated insurance. Medicaid and SCHIP will expand. The plan will require employers to contribute a percentage of payroll toward the cost of a national insurance plan.

Let’s see. Federal mandates. Federal subsidies. Federal bureaucracy. That’s a great prescription. Reduced patient care. Increased taxes. Increased wait times. And “Press 2 for English.” Yeah, that sounds like Canadian health care.

Back to China. China has an economy growing over 10% annually. China has cradle to (early) grave medical coverage. China caps health care benefits at $4,300 per person.

I wonder what cap our U.S. believers in socialized medicine will impose.