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- Learning from lobbyist John Britton (08/14/14)
Cute signs, health care
Amusing signs and slogans:In a podiatrist's office: Time wounds all heels.
On a septic tank truck: Yesterday's meals on wheels.
At a proctologist's door: To expedite your visit, please back in.
On a plumber's truck: We repair what your husband fixed.
On another plumber's truck: Don't sleep with a drip. Call your plumber.
On a church billboard: Seven days without God makes one weak.
At a towing company: We don't charge an arm and a leg. We want tows.
On an electrician's truck: Let us remove your shorts.
In a nonsmoking area: If we see smoke, we will assume you are on fire and take appropriate action.
On a maternity room door: Push. Push. Push.
At an optometrist's office: If you don't see what you're looking for, you've come to the right place.
On a taxidermist's window: We really know our stuff.
On a fence: Salesmen welcome! Dog food is expensive!
At a car dealership: The best way to get back on your feet -- miss a car payment.
Outside a muffler shop: No appointment necessary. We hear you coming.
In a veterinarian's waiting room: Be back in 5 minutes. Sit! Stay!
At the electric company: We would be delighted if you send in your payment. However, if you don't, you will be.
In a restaurant window: Don't stand there and be hungry; come on in and get fed up.
In the front yard of a funeral home: 'Drive carefully. We'll wait.'
At a propane filling station: Thank heaven for little grills.
And don't forget the sign at a Chicago radiator shop: Best place in town to take a leak.
-- E-mail fun
How U.S. health care stacks up: With $2.5 trillion expected to be spent this year, health care in the U.S. Is more expensive than in any other country, including Great Britain and Canada, whose nationalized, universal care systems are held up as models.
But what we spend isn't thrown down a rathole. The National Center for Policy Analysis has published a study, "10 Surprising Facts About American Health Care," that shows how Americans get something for the extra dollars they lay out. To wit:
* "Americans have better survival rates than Europeans for common cancers." Breast cancer mortality: 52 percent higher in Germany and 88 percent higher in the United Kingdom than in the U.S. Prostate cancer mortality: 604 percent higher in the U.K., 457 percent higher in Norway. Colorectal cancer mortality: 40 percent higher among Britons.
* "Americans have lower cancer mortality rates than Canadians." Rates for breast cancer (9 percent), prostate cancer (184 percent) and colon cancer among men (10 percent) are higher than in the U.S.
* "Americans have better access to treatment of chronic diseases than patients in other developed countries." Roughly 56 percent of Americans who could benefit are taking statin drugs. Only 36 percent of the Dutch, 29 percent of the Swiss, 26 percent of Germans, 23 percent of Britons and 17 percent of Italians who could benefit receive them.
* "Americans have better access to preventive cancer screenings than Canadians." Nine of 10 middle-aged American women have had a mammogram; 72 percent of Canadian women have. Almost every American woman (96 percent) has had a Pap smear; fewer than 90 percent of Canadian women have. Roughly 54 percent of American men have had a prostate cancer test; fewer than one in six Canadian men have. Almost a third of Americans (30 percent) have had a colonoscopy; only 5 percent of Canadians have had the procedure.
* "Lower-income Americans are in better health than comparable Canadians." Nearly 12 percent of U.S. seniors with below-median incomes self-report being in "excellent" health, while 5.8 percent of Canadian seniors say the same thing.
* "Americans spend less time waiting for care than patients in Canada and the United Kingdom." Canadians and Britons wait about twice as long, sometimes more than a year, to see a specialist, have elective surgery or get radiation treatment.
* "People in countries with more government control of health care are highly dissatisfied and believe reform is needed." More than seven in 10 Germans, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders and Britons say their health systems need either "fundamental change" or "complete rebuilding."
* "Americans are more satisfied with the care they receive than Canadians." More than half (51.3 percent) of Americans are very satisfied with their health care services, while 41.5 percent of Canadians hold the same view of their system.
* "Americans have much better access to important new technologies like medical imaging than patients in Canada or the U.K." There are 34 CT scanners per million Americans. There are 12 per million in Canada and eight per million in Britain. The U.S. has nearly 27 MRI machines per million. Britain and Canada have 6 per million.
* "Americans are responsible for the vast majority of all health care innovations." The top five U.S. hospitals conduct more clinical trials than all the hospitals in any other single developed nation; the most important recent medical innovations were developed here.
Can the nationalized, universal systems in Britain, Canada or anywhere else improve on this? No, but we can ruin our health care by following the policies of countries where medical treatment is far below the American standard.
On perspective: If you think small things don't matter, try spending the night in a room with a mosquito.
-- The Dalai Lama, spiritual leader
Gary Rust is the chairman of Rust Communications.