Socialized, European-style healthcare

In America the words “Socialized, European-style healthcare” are not spoken, they are spit. Conservatives routinely spit them out when anyone mentions anything remotely approaching universal healthcare. For their part liberals choose to not speak them, preferring to call their socialized healthcare plans something like “Optimistic Americans Choice for More Choice in Good Health Plan”.

So, how are those socialized Europeans doing, healthwise?

It turns out that Europeans are much healthier than Americans (see chart at right, courtesy of an LA Times piece entitled “Europe Healthier than U.S.“). How can that be?

Possible explanations:

  1. U.S. is home of the Big Mac. Good, but the dietary equivalent of an IED. (OK, not good–but there’s no accounting for taste)
  2. It cannot possibly be European healthcare, therefore, it is logical to assume that European healthcare is worse than most people think. It’s so bad (long-lines, old equipment, underpaid staff) that Europeans are afraid to get sick, knowing they will die. This causes them to take better care of themselves.
  3. It’s inappropriate to compare Americans to Europeans. They are distinct species.
  4. No one in the U.S. makes money by keeping people healthy; however they do make money by inventing ways to sell super-sized meals and Big Gulps of high fructose corn syrup. Americans also make money by treating chronic diseases caused by eating super-sized meals and drinking Big Gulps of high fructose corn syrup.

I’m leaning toward #4.


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