Women get better care in the United States than in Canada or England

The Obama-Biden transition team has specifically used the failure to reach all women with mammography screening as a reason for greater government control of medicine.

It states that only 71.8% of women age 50 to 64 and 63.8% of women age 65 or older received screening mammograms in 2005, despite expert recommendations for annual screening after age 50.

In Canada, however, where “everyone is insured,” the screening rate is only 51.8%, according to Statistics Canada.

Despite universal coverage, the disparities in screening for women of lower socioeconomic status are the same in Canada as in the United States (Katz SJ, et al. Am J Public Health 2000;90(May):799-803).

The transition team implies that the goal should 100% screening, without consideration of potential problems, such as overdiagnosis and overtreatment. Overdiagnosis was shown to be 30% in randomized trials, and reached 40% to 60% in large epidemiologic studies (BMJ 2006;332:538-541).

If seeking anecdotes about difficulties in finding care, the team should look to the British National Health Service. An expectant mother of twins was informed that she needed a Caesarian section because one of the twins was undernourished and not developing properly. Before delivery, she underwent a 5-day ordeal of being ferried 250 miles between four hospitals in search of adequate facilities. Five minutes after birth, one of the twins was taken to another hospital because all the incubators had become full.

The babies became more undernourished as the mother had to starve herself repeatedly in anticipation of surgery that was postponed. And after delivery she had to face a two-hour round-trip daily drive to deliver breast milk (Mail on Line 12/16/08).

The costs endured by women and babies and others whose care is delayed are not counted in the costs of the purportedly efficient single payer.

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One thought on “Women get better care in the United States than in Canada or England

  1. If mammography statistical rates are viewed as a measure of the success of the health care “system”, then any free-thinking women who object to the repeated radiation exposure and breast compreassion, unnessesary biopsies and fear, etc., will be seen as part of the “failure” of the system. The problem with all these “systems” is they ignore the patient’s right to choose alternative means of diagnosis and treatment and attempt to foster only the failed pharmaceutically and interventionally-based current paradigm.

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