A new quest of mine is to get conservatives to face reality instead of simply spinning plausible sounding theories out of their heads. One plausible sounding theory is that socialized medicine is a real nightmare that Americans want no part of. For instance Bob Dutko confidently informed me that the American people don't want something like single payer health care. HP dismisses the World Health Organization rankings of health care around the world because they are "politically charged."
There's pretty decent polling data related to health care satisfaction that we can use to inform ourselves on these questions. You can get a full report from the Commonwealth Fund in 2010 here. I offer a few slides below. Polling is of 11 first world nations.
I'll start with a slide related to cost. I think most people, even conversatives, understand that the cost in the US is off the scale. Here's how far off the scale as contrasted with the other nations in the survey.
What's amazing is that despite the exorbitant amount spent, here in the US we are the worst in terms of cost related problems. One might think with as much as we spend people don't have to skip care or people don't have trouble paying bills. That's not the case.
Here are some additional details on cost related problems.
Do Americans have a higher expectation for receiving effective treatment if they get sick? Not really.
One thing conservatives frequently talk about is wait times. In Canada it's a nightmare. People can't get an appointment. Have to sit in waiting rooms all day. Is that true? Let's see.
It's a little tough to see and you can click it to expand it, but basically only in Canada does a person have more difficulty getting an appointment for the same day. Note that this question was from the 2007 survey because I didn't see the results in the 2010 survey, so in this case it's a 7 country comparison.
What about waiting time in the emergency room?
Better than Canada? Sure. But overall about the middle of the pack.
How about seeing a specialist?
Once again, pretty good. 3 out of 11. But let's not pretend beating out Canada is all that matters. We're paying twice what Germany does as well and we're not beating them.
So finally what are the perceptions of the residents overall?
The highest percentage of residents that think their system needs a complete over haul is in the US. We are second worst amongst those that think only minor changes are needed. It leads me to think that the World Health Organization has taken the time to look at the real world in crafting their rankings. Maybe it's not a conspiracy after all.