Thursday, February 23, 2006

Single-payer health systems: poaching off America

One of my favourite current authors, the very insightful and well-researched Malcom Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point, in debate about the relative merits of the American and Canadian healthcare systems:

If you look at the level of medical innovation in the world in the last 25 years, virtually everything comes from America. Absent America, medicine in the world is in the dark; it is retarded; it is at a level that all of us would find unacceptable. What is happening right now is that all these cheap single-payer systems are essentially poaching. They are cherry-picking off the American system. The American system is pumping money into research, has got this free market system which is incredibly dynamic and incredibly innovative. Everyone else just sits back and cherry picks all of the things we come up with. What happens if there's no America tomorrow? What happens if we junk our system? Where does medical progress come from?

Which is something I've often thought myself. The day the Democrats get their NHS in the US of A, G-d forbid, will be a dark day for medicine.


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