Daniel J. Mitchell

I’m not a fan of the American healthcare system. It suffers from huge inefficiencies because of problems such as third-party payer, which is caused by government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid along with a system of tax code-driven over-insurance in the supposedly private sector.

But regardless of how much I grouse about the damage government causes in the United States, I can say with considerable confidence that the government-run system in the United Kingdom has even larger problems.

Here are some of the shocking details from a report in the UK-based Daily Mail.

Patients having major surgery in NHS hospitals face a much higher risk of dying than those in America, research has revealed. Doctors found that people who have treatment here are four times more likely to die than US citizens undergoing similar operations. The most seriously ill NHS patients were seven times more likely to die than their American counterparts. Experts blame the British fatality figures on a shortage of specialists and lack of intensive care beds for post-operative recovery. They also suggest that long waiting lists mean diseases are more advanced before they are treated. Researchers from University College London and Columbia University, in New York, studied 1,000 surgery patients at the Mount Sinai Hospital, Manhattan, and compared them to nearly 1,100 people who had similar operations at the Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Portsmouth. The results showed that just under ten per cent of British patients died in hospital afterwards compared to 2.5 per cent in America. Among the most seriously ill cases there was a seven-fold difference in the death rates.


Daniel J. Mitchell

Daniel J. Mitchell is a top expert on tax reform and supply-side tax policy at the Cato Institute.