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November 6, 2013

Doctors: Venezuela Healthcare Collapsing (Perils of Government-Run Health Care)

Topics: Political News and commentaries

The Associated Press takes scathing look at the current state of health care in Venezuela, In a word, the whole system, and especially the parts run by the government as part of a 1999 constitutional mandate to provide "free" universal health care, is collapsing under the weight of late and woefully-inadequate compensation from government. What's happening in Venezuela thoroughly debunks (as does Sally Pipes' 2009 piece at the WSJ) the Democratic argument for government-run health care.

Via the AP:

[...] Doctors at the hospital sent home 300 cancer patients last month when supply shortages and overtaxed equipment made it impossible for them to perform non-emergency surgeries.

Driving the crisis in health care are the same forces that have left Venezuelans scrambling to find toilet paper, milk and automobile parts. Economists blame government mismanagement and currency controls set by the late President Hugo Chavez for inflation pushing 50 percent annually. The government controls the dollars needed to buy medical supplies and has simply not made enough available ....

Doctors not allied with the government say many patients began dying from easily treatable illnesses when Venezuela's death from cancer in March. Doctors say it's impossible to know how many have died, and the government doesn't keep such numbers, just as it hasn't published health statistics since 2010.

Almost everything needed to mend and heal is in critically short supply: needles, syringes and paraffin used in biopsies to diagnose cancer; drugs to treat it; operating room equipment; X-ray film and imaging paper; blood and the reagents needed so it can be used for transfusions.

Last month, the government suspended organ donations and transplants. At least 70 percent of radiotherapy machines, precisely what (Evelina) Gonzalez will need once her tumor is removed, are now inoperable in a country with 19,000 cancer patients -- meaning fewer than 5,000 can be treated, said Dr. Douglas Natera, president of the Venezuelan Medical Federation. ...

As you read further, Obamacare's "death panel" - the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). comes to mind:
The private system has just 8,000 of the country's more than 50,000 hospital beds but treats 53 percent of the country's patients, including the 10 million public employees with health insurance. Rosales said insurers, many state-owned, are four to six months behind in payments and it is nearly impossible to meet payrolls and pay suppliers.

Worse, government price caps set in July for common procedures are impossible to meet, Rosales said. For example, dialysis treatment was set at 200 bolivars ($30 at the official exchange rate and less than $4 on the black market) for a procedure that costs 5,000 bolivars to administer.

Take the time to read the whole thing.

(hat tip - Hot Air).

Posted by Hyscience at November 6, 2013 3:23 PM

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