Monday, November 26, 2012

Socialized medicine in Sweden

Free medical care for all!  What a wonderful socialist dream!

It's a dream that never works.  Whenever it is attempted it leads to heavily rationed care at generally low standards.  The GOP now seems inclined to give up the fight against Obamacare so America too will soon be getting its version of socialized medicine.

EVERY DAY I put up reports of the woeful way people are treated  in Britain under socialized medicine and roughly a couple of days a week I put up similar reports from Australia.  (See EYE ON BRITAIN and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

But what about Sweden?  What about the socialist paradise?  Surely it works there!  It doesn't.  I haven't got the time to blog regularly about the Swedish situation but below are three recent reports from Sweden that should steel the resolve of American conservatives not to give up the fight against Obamacare.

America's health system right now is not perfect but if you want to find out how bad it can become, just do nothing.  Reports from Sweden follow.  They are eerily similar to what we hear from Britain and Australia -- JR:

Child's appendix bursts after 20 hour ER wait

A nine-year-old boy with appendicitis was made to wait more than 20 hours for surgery at the emergency ward of a Stockholm-area children's hospital before his appendix finally burst.

William arrived at Astrid Lindgren Children's Hospital in Stockholm last Thursday after suffering stomach pains for days. He was immediately diagnosed with appendicitis, but then nothing happened.

After having his operation repeatedly pushed back by doctors, William's desperate parents were told by the chief surgeon that an operation would only be possible if it was carried out "the old-fashioned way", rather than using a procedure which resulted in less scarring.

"There was only one overnight operating room to handle all of Stockholm's children," William's father told DN.  "I'm convinced that if we hadn't demanded to speak with the chief surgeon we would have had to wait yet another night."

But by the time doctors operated on the nine-year-old, his appendix had already burst, resulting in an extended hospital stay, two weeks of missed school, and no ice hockey for young William until after Christmas.  "If they had operated sooner, I'd be home now," the nine-year-old told the paper.

Employees at the hospital acknowledged that patient safety is in jeopardy.  "Tough budget cuts, staff shortages, and recruitment difficulties have unfortunately put more pressure on surgeries and meant that children and parents have had to wait longer as a result," a hospital employee told DN.


Man left with rotting leg after hospital 'loses' him

A 21-year-old Swedish man fears that he will be unable to walk unaided again after Linköping University Hospital lost track of him, leading to a delay in the treatment of a routine foot fracture.

John Bruhne broke his foot while skateboarding and was told by the hospital that he would be home within a couple of days. Six weeks and eight operations later Bruhne was however still in hospital, according to a report by Sveriges Television Östnytt.

The extended hospital stay was made necessary after staff at the hospital lost track of him as he was moved across several wards.

The subsequent delay in his treatment meant that the muscles surrounding the broken bone began to wither and rot.

Once the hospital had finally located him, Bruhne underwent an emergency operation and three muscles were removed from his bone. He has since undergone a further seven operations to address the injury and ensuing complications.

The 21-year-old expressed concern that he would be unable to make a full recovery from his injury.  "Perhaps I will never be able to walk again. then I think about the sports. That I will never be able to play football or inner-bandy," he said to SVT.  "It is awful that this type of thing has to happen just to save money."

The incident has been reported to the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) in accordance with Sweden's Lex-Maria laws, the informal name for regulations governing the reporting of injuries and incidents in the healthcare system.


Swede forced to fake stroke to get x-ray for brain tumor

A Swedish man has reported his local hospital after being forced to fake stroke symptoms to finally get an x-ray, following years of debilitating headaches and high blood pressure.

“I have filed a report so that this won’t happen to others,” Mats Johannesson told The Local.

Johannesson, who is in his forties and was working as a truck driver, fell ill some five years ago. After seeking medical help from his local clinic in Mellerud he was referred to the nearest hospital, the Norra Älvsborgs lasarett, but was sent home again with some painkillers.

“I asked for an x-ray but they didn’t think there was enough reason to carry one out,” Johannsesson said.

This continued on and off for the next five years. By last summer, Johannesson had gone to hospital by ambulance 47 times. Every time he was sent back by taxi – and without the x-ray he asked for.  “I have lived with this for so long now,” Johannesson said.

On the May 20th this year, Johannesson collapsed again but was sent home once more without an x-ray. When it happened again on July 19th Johannesson was determined not to be brushed off. “I thought to myself ‘ I am going to get a scan this time’,” Johannesson told The Local.

When the doctor came to check him over, Johannesson therefore pretended to have had a stroke, making himself go limp on the left side of his body . When the attending physician asked him to touch his nose with his fingertips, he missed on purpose.

“And then they got worried and I was taken for an emergency x-ray straight away,” Johannesson said.

When they had performed the scan the doctor told him that there was no haemorrhage but that they had detected a tumour in his brain. He is now getting anti-retroviral drugs and is set to be admitted to hospital in two weeks.

Johannesson has now reported the hospital to the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen). The hospital is also conducting an internal investigation and mulling reporting itself in accordance with Lex Maria regulations on reporting instances of patient harm in the Swedish healthcare system.

“I am frankly furious with what has happened. I could have been spared all these years’ suffering. When I was put on the drugs the symptoms disappeared over night,” Johannesson told The Local.


Note: Strictly speaking, Swedish healthcare is not wholly socialized.  There is some choice of hospital.  But most Swedes end up relying on the local government hospital, as we see above.  Obamacare will not be fully socialized either in that many people will retain private insurance.  But those who rely on Obamacare will have experiences such as the above


Failures of Intelligence

Mark Steyn

I blow hot and cold on the Petraeus sex scandal. Initially, it seemed the best shot at getting a largely uninterested public to take notice of the national humiliation and subsequent cover-up over the deaths of American diplomats and the sacking of our consulate in Benghazi.

On the other hand, everyone involved in this sorry excuse for a sex scandal seems to have been too busy e-mailing each other to have had any sex. The FBI was initially reported to have printed out 20,000–30,000 pages of e-mails and other communications between General Allen, U.S. commander in Afghanistan, and Jill Kelley of Tampa, one-half of a pair of identical twins dressed like understudies for the CentCom mess-hall production of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Thirty thousand pages! The complete works of Shakespeare come to about three and a half thousand pages, but American officials can’t even have a sex scandal without getting bogged down in the paperwork.

For the cost of running those FBI documents off the photocopier, you could fly some broad to the Bahamas and have a real sex scandal. Instead, we’ll “investigate” it for a year or three, as we’re doing with Benghazi itself. At her press conference the other day, soon-to-be Secretary of State Susan Rice explained that she would be misspeaking if she were to explain why she misspoke about Benghazi until something called the “Accountability Review Board” has finished “conducting investigations” into “all aspects” of the investigations being conducted, which should be completed by roughly midway through Joe Biden’s second term.

Pending that “definitive accounting,” one or two aspects stand out. Paula Broadwell had access to General Petraeus because she was supposedly writing his biography. As it turns out, she can’t write, so her publisher was obliged to hire a ghostwriter from the Washington Post. Some years ago, at a low point in my career, I was asked to ghostwrite a book for a supermodel. That’s usually the type of “writer” who requires a ghost: models, singers, athletes, celebrities. When a first-time biographer requires a ghostwriter, that person is not a biographer but something else. Yet she had classified documents at her home — and yes, as the president suggested, they’re probably not that classified, not the real top-secret stuff. But in a speech at the University of Denver Mrs. Broadwell appeared to reveal accidentally that she is privy to operational knowledge of illegal CIA interrogation chambers in Benghazi.

Now let us move from General Petraeus’s mistress to General Allen’s non-mistress, Tampa socialite and identical twin Jill Kelley. Mrs. Kelley had clearance for all parts of the MacDill Air Base and was given some kind of commemorative certificate as “honorary ambassador” to CentCom, on the basis of which, in a recent 9-1-1 call, she claimed the right to “diplomatic protection.” Yeah, that’s what Chris Stevens thought in Benghazi. As appears to be well known, the Kelleys have financial problems and their luxury home faces foreclosure. For a while they ran a charity, the Doctor Kelley Cancer Foundation, which makes terminal cancer patients’ final wishes come true. In 2007, they took in $157,284 in donations, and ran up expenses of $81,927 on dining, entertainment, and travel. So, if you’ve got cancer and your dying wish is for Jill Kelley to party, this is the charity for you.

In other words, neither of these women pass the smell test. Which is a problem insofar as Petraeus, as CIA director, is supposed to be head of the national smell test, and General Allen, as Petraeus’s successor in Kabul, is supposed to be head of the smell test in Afghanistan. In the Gaza “peace agreement” signed last week, they flew in Hillary Clinton to give the impression that she had something to do with it, whereas in reality she was entirely peripheral to the deal. But Jill Kelley is apparently essential to anything that matters in CentCom: When Pastor Terry Jones was threatening to burn a Koran, General Allen asked Mrs. Kelley to mediate. When radio personality Bubba the Love Sponge was threatening to “deep-fat fry” a Koran, General Allen recommended the mayor of Tampa ask Mrs. Kelley to intervene.

The U.S. government is responsible for 43 percent of the planet’s military spending, and apparently all that gets you is that, when the feces hits the fan, the four-star brass start e-mailing Jill Kelley of Tampa. If only she’d been hosting a champagne reception at the Sigonella air base in southern Italy, maybe we could have parachuted her into Benghazi to defuse the situation. Jill is the woman Hillary can only dream of being — at the confluence of all the great geostrategic currents of the age. Why didn’t we fly Jill Kelley to broker the Gaza deal? Instead of a patsy peddling risible talking points like Susan Rice, why can’t we have Jill Kelley as secretary of state?

As far as I can tell, our enemies in Afghanistan don’t go in for Soviet-style honey traps. Which is just as well, considering the ease with which, say, a pretend biographer can wind up sitting next to the U.S. commander on his personal Gulfstream. In different ways, Director Petraeus’s judgment and Director Clapper’s obtuseness testify to the problems of America’s vast, sprawling, over-bureaucratized intelligence community. If Director Petraeus can’t see the obvious under his nose in his interventions in the Kelley twins’ various difficulties, why would you expect Director Clapper to have any greater grasp of what’s happening in Cairo or Damascus?

Having consolidated his grip in Egypt, Morsi is now looking beyond. His “peace deal” legitimizes the Muslim Brotherhood’s affiliate in Gaza, and increases the likelihood of the Brothers advancing to power in Syria and elsewhere. As on that night in Benghazi when the most lavishly funded military/intelligence operation on the planet watched for eight hours as a mob devoured America’s emissaries, America in a broader sense is a spectator in its own fate. As for Afghanistan, it seems a fitting comment on America’s longest unwon war that the last two U.S. commanders exit in a Benny Hill finale, trousers round their ankles, pursued to speeded-up chase music by bunny-boiling mistresses, stalker socialites, identical twins, and Bubba the Love Sponge.



Eliminating corporate tax for U.S. firms will create American jobs

One idea policymakers might consider in the upcoming calendar year is the elimination of the corporate income tax for goods and services produced here in the U.S.  Senator Rick Santorum touted a similar proposal on the campaign trail during the Republican presidential primary.

At 35 percent, the U.S. has the highest such tax rate in the developed world, more than even Japan. Combined with an ever-weakening dollar, high labor costs, and a regulatory environment that would make Soviet Russia blush, there is an enormous disincentive for new companies to ever set up shop here.

But, with the population growing as fast as it is, the private sector in particular, which employs 85 percent of workers, will need to expand robustly in order to get everyone back to work and the economy back on track. We cannot all work for the government.

So, it needs to become a whole lot cheaper to do business here. And until it does, there is little reason to expect the job market to improve dramatically as the U.S. fails to compete globally for capital.

U.S. exporters should be encouraged too to repatriate profits made overseas back into the country by restoring the foreign income tax credit. They should not be paying any taxes either on those profits.

Relative to individual income and payroll taxes that raise $2 trillion annually, the corporate tax does not raise that much revenue anyway — just $240 billion.

But if eliminating it for goods and services produced here — and halving it as Santorum suggested for all other firms — could help create just half of the jobs needed this decade, much of that revenue would eventually be made up for. The deficit would be reduced further by saving hundreds of billions from unemployment, food stamps, and other welfare programs.

Some will object to favorable treatment or incentives for domestic industries, label it protectionism, or warn of a trade war with overseas competitors. But would those not be the same arguments against a stronger dollar or rolling back restrictive domestic regulations that might make it cheaper to do business here? Those policies would be beneficial to many U.S.-based firms, too.

With any policy, there will always be winners and losers. In this case, the idea would be to create jobs here to accommodate a growing population, not to favor any particular industry’s bottom line.

Consider the alternative, which is to stay on the path we have laid out for ourselves as a nation the past many years.

A failure to create 40 million jobs this decade will mean millions more people becoming dependent on government benefits — essentially creating a permanent underclass. Making matters worse, already dire public finances would become even more swamped, as a dwindling base of taxpayers are expected to pay more of the bills.

At that stage, politicians will be tempted to raise taxes further to reduce the deficit — only even worse than is being called for today. All of which would place even further pressure on job creators, shift more capital overseas, and push more Americans into the ranks of the unemployed — a vicious cycle.

That is why the best social program is a job. The most urgent question facing the nation now is how best to create new ones here.

In the meantime, now is not the time to raise taxes on the job creators we do have during this month’s fiscal cliff negotiations. If anything, politicians need to find ways to make it less expensive to do business here so we all can get back to work. Assuming anyone’s listening, eliminating the corporate tax for U.S. businesses might be a good place to start.




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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist.  It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day.  It was only to the Right of  Stalin's Communism.  The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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