Be careful what you wish for when you agitate for socialized medicine:
On Nov. 26th, 2005, Silvio Berlusconi collapsed while delivering a speech at his Forza Italia Party in Tuscany. Tests revealed that the 70-year-old former and current Italian prime minister was suffering from a potentially serious irregular heart rhythm. Surgery to implant a pacemaker was recommended. And where did Mr. Berlusconi choose to have this lifesaving procedure? The Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.
While the U.S. government does not track the number of foreigners who receive medical care in this country, a study by Johns Hopkins estimated as many as 70,000 annually. Among them were well-known figures as Canadian Member of Parliament Belinda Stronach, who abandoned her country's national health care system to treat her breast cancer at a California hospital. There have been families from other countries who have been patients at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida for four generations. Canada and the UK have less than half the number of MRI units and CT scanners per million people as the U.S..
The most frequent reason that foreigners give for coming to the United States for treatment is to obtain access to the world's most advanced medical technologies or obtain higher quality health care than is available in their own countries. Forty four percent of Americans who could benefit from taking statins, a lipid-lowering medication that reduces cholesterol and protects against heart disease. That number seems low until compared with the 26% of Germans, 23% of Britons, and 17% of Italians.
The second biggest reason is to circumvent waiting times and medical care rationing at home. There are currently 750,000 Britons awaiting admission to the National Health Service (NHS) and shortages force the NHS to cancel as many as 50,000 operations per year. It's even worse in Canada with 800,000 patients currently on waiting lists for medical procedures. Many of these individuals suffer chronic pain and will die before they received the treatment they've been promised.
Welcome to the Obama/Clinton health plan.