Canada, once able to boast about its high rank in the world for low infant-mortality rate – sixth place in 1990 – saw its rank plummet to 25th place in 2005, according to figures published this year by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
The problem isn't getting better either. Canadian hospitals continue to add NICU beds, but because of their government health care system, they are unable to attract quality nurses and doctors to man those beds, so they just sit empty.
“The reality is that maternity care disparities and deficiencies in this country have been obscured [by] dedicated doctors, midwives and nurses who deliver miracles every day,” said the report, which is the work of obstetricians, family physicians, midwives, neonatal nurses and rural physicians. “However, these dedicated professionals are telling us that cracks in the system are reaching a breaking point and that the current situation is potentially dangerous and cannot be sustained.”
While its clear that a national health care system is not the answer to Americas health care problems, something must be done to reign in health care costs that are quickly spiraling out of control for many of us.
A better solution would require a multi pronged approach. First, we need to cap malpractice lawsuits. The cost of malpractice insurance for many doctors is so great that they can barely afford to offer care and put food on their tables. This drives costs up and requires doctors to perform often needless tests just to cover their liability.
Second, we need to permit insurance companies to compete across state and city boundaries. For example, Kansas Citians have to choose from different insurance plans and companies than the rest of the residents of Missouri. Likewise, Missourians and Kansans are also not able to choose identical health care coverage at identical costs. Only when these artificial boundaries are removed can we hope to see the free market drive insurance costs down.
Third, insurance companies need to be held to a minimum standard of care. This should include requiring them to provide coverage for existing conditions. Too many people become ill and find themselves unable to afford their dramatically increased premiums and are incapable of finding suitable replacement coverage because their illness is now classified as preexisting.
Finally, a fair pricing policy must be instituted. This means that individuals must be able to purchase insurance at the same monthly premium as employees of large businesses. Insurance companies often give major corporations significantly lower costing health care options than those that are made available to small businesses or individuals. They claim this is because they are able to spread the cost of HMO plans across many employees. However, they could just as easily spread those costs across all their customers insuring lower costs for all. Instead they charge the customers who can least afford it, the most and that's just wrong no matter how you look at it.
Unfortunately, just like the immigration issue, none of the candidates seeking the highest office in the land have a suitable plan that will provide a real cost benefit to Americans while maintaining our extremely high standards of health care.