Thursday, March 05, 2009


Former First Lady Barbara Bush Has Heart Surgery

But How Would She Fair Under The Obama Health System?

Former First Lady, Barbara Bush underwent Aortic Valve replacement yesterday. The otherwise vigorous 83 year-old Mrs. Bush was said to be recovering well at Methodist Hospital in Houston. According to former President George H.W. Bush, "I am very impressed with and grateful to the wonderful team of doctors and nurses at The Methodist Hospital who have helped Barbara. We have every confidence she is in the best hands."

The former First Lady underwent the procedure after she presented to her doctors last week with shortness of breath and presumably tests indicated that the Aortic Valve was in need of replacement.

We wish Mrs. Bush all of the best and hope for a speedy recovery, but lost in this story is a larger, more compelling question; How would Mrs. Bush have fared under a Socialist, Obama-style health care system?
The answer is, not good. Looking at our closest neighbor to the north with a government led health care system, one the Obama administration admires, the most recent studies demonstrate that Canadian "wait times" are excessive, leading to "costs not only on the patients themselves, but also on the economy as a whole".

While this study didn't look specifically at Aortic Valve replacements, the average "wait time" for a Coronary Arterial Bypass Graft (CABG) surgery, a procedure similar to the one that former First Lady Bush underwent less than a week after her diagnosis, was 25 days. That's right, it took nearly a month before the average Canadian citizen received a CABG. More astounding is that CABG surgery patients experienced the shortest"wait times" of the four types of procedures studied. Patients requiring joint replacement surgery waited on average 92 days, cataract surgery, 85 days, and those patients waiting for an MRI had to hobble around for nearly two months before receiving their scans. The economic costs and human tolls are staggering and are detailed as well.

Had Mrs. Bush been visiting her friend the Queen mum and needed similar surgery, the circumstances could have been even worse. Wait lists for "free" health care in Britain are so long that travel agencies are offering "sun and surgery" package vacations to developing countries. Flying to places such as India and Malaysia cost less than paying for "private" surgery in Britain and in many cases health care standards are higher. At any given time nearly one million British citizens are on waiting lists for admission to hospitals. The quality of care in the National Health System is so poor, that the newspapers are rife with stories of denial of care, refusal to pay for medicines, withheld treatments, wrong treatments, etc.

Instead of traveling east, had the former First Lady been touring in another English speaking, socialized medicine country, she would have needed to bring some extra suitcases. The average wait times for heart surgery have dramatically increased in New Zealand to over 60 days! And the data compiled wasn't for ordinary heart disease, but for critical, life-threatening procedures.

It is ironic that as our former First Lady is recovering from a remarkable surgery made possible by the medical advances pioneered in this great country of ours, that Obama is launching his initial attempt to destroy the very health system that led to all of these innovations. As our country is sliding down into the depths of an economic depression unlike any in the history of man, our President fears not. Instead of focusing on correcting our economic collapse, Obama chooses to build "bridges to nowhere" while deconstructing one of our finest technological industries, the American Health Care System.


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