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More Government in Health Care is Not a Prescription For Reform
Date:6/23/2008

Center for Medicine in the Public Interest launches BigGovHealth.org to inform policy debate; share first-hand perspective on pitfalls of government systems

WASHINGTON, June 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Center for Medicine in the Public Interest (CMPI) today launched BigGovHealth.org, a new initiative to expose the consequences of greater government control in health care.

BigGovHealth.org features powerful, first-person video testimonials from patients, health care workers and health policy experts from Canada and the United Kingdom -- two socialized systems often pointed to as models for reform. These candid interviews look at how systems that often deny and ration care impact health and well-being.

"Government-controlled health care isn't free," said CMPI chairman Michael Weber, MD, "It comes at great monetary and human cost in the form of higher taxes, longer wait times and denials of coverage. Europeans and Canadians are paying about 20 percent or more in taxes than Americans, yet when patients with serious conditions look to the government for treatment, they are met with delays and denials. I believe that Americans would find such a system to be totally unacceptable."

"Health care reform must improve medical care. With a government-run system, we'd be getting exactly the opposite," said former United States Senator Don Nickles, a noted health care expert.

"Health care reform should encourage innovation, not discourage it, and should give Americans broad access to the newest and best treatments and cures."

Shona Holmes, a brain tumor survivor from Toronto, Canada who is profiled on BigGovHealth.org was forced to come to the United States for critically-needed care when the Canadian system made her wait months for chemotherapy and surgery.

"If I didn't come to Arizona when I did, I wouldn't be here today, that's for sure," said Holmes, who is suing the Ontario government to permit private insurance in the province. "My message to Americans is simple: Think twice before supporting a government-run program that will discourage life-saving technologies and treatments, because you will never know when you or a member of your family might need them."

Citizens of countries with government-run health care systems endure long wait times, a lack of access to certain treatments and, in many instances, poorer health. For example:

-- The five-year survival rate for early-diagnosed breast cancer patients

in England is just Hidden List 78 percent, compared to 98

percent in the U.S.

-- The UK has the lowest survival rates and the lowest use of new drugs

compared to the Hidden List United States.

-- Sixty-six percent of Americans have their blood pressure under control,

compared to 43 Hidden List percent of Canadians and 23

percent of Europeans.

-- It takes an average of 363 days Hidden List -- nearly a

Hidden List year -- for Canada's provincial health plans to

decide whether to pay for a new drug. Only 39 percent of new drugs are

fully reimbursed, down from 44 percent in 2004.

-- A typical Canadian seeking surgical or other therapeutic treatment had

to wait 18.3 weeks in 2007, an all-time high, according to The Fraser

Institute.

-- More than half of Canadian adults (56 percent) sought routine or ongoing

care in 2005 -- of these, one in six said they have trouble getting

routine care.

"Congress has an important role to play in health care reform," said United States Representative John Shadegg (R-AZ), who has introduced health care legislation in support of free-market competition. "We can help patients in this country, not by setting up a massive new government bureaucracy, but by empowering individuals to make the best choices for themselves and their families."

To learn more about why government-run health care is not the right prescription for reform in the United States, please visit http://www.BigGovHealth.org.

About the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest

The Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.


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SOURCE Center for Medicine in the Public Interest
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