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NATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE NO SOLUTION, REPORT SAYS

 NATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE NO SOLUTION, REPORT SAYS
 MIDLAND, Mich., Sept. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- A system of government-


provided national health insurance would significantly lower the standards, quality and availability of health care in Michigan and the United States, according to a study released today by The Mackinac Center for Public Policy.
 The 68-page study, titled "Twenty Myths About National Health Insurance," cites examples of inefficiency and inequity in countries which offer "free" health care, such as Canada, Britain and New Zealand. The report suggests alternative methods to expand access to health care and make it more affordable including tax reform and the creation of tax-free medical savings accounts.
 Under national health insurance, Mackinac Center economists Dr. Gerald L. Musgrave and Dr. John C. Goodman found:
 -- Countries limit access and spending on life-saving, modern technology.
 -- The poor, the elderly, racial minorities and rural residents wait longer for health care than the wealthy, the powerful and the well- connected.
 -- Although health care is proclaimed a "right," access is often guaranteed only to those with private health insurance or the ability to pay out-of-pocket.
 Countries with national health insurance are increasingly turning toward private-sector and market-based reforms, the study showed. In 1989, the British government began to allow private hospitals to compete against public hospitals for National Health Service funds. More recently, New Zealand has signaled its intent to end 40 years of socialized medicine by giving people tax incentives to purchase private health insurance.
 The Mackinac report also found that national health insurance would not benefit organized labor or the auto industry. To finance a health insurance program similar to Canada's would require $339 billion in new taxes financed by an additional 15-percent payroll tax, a 16-percentage- point increase in the income tax, or a 10-percent value-added or sales tax. High-wage industries would suffer the most. For example, the auto industry would pay an average of $2,586 more per assembly-line employee under a national health insurance payroll tax.
 The study concluded that countries which offer national health insurance eventually develop problems normally associated with government-controlled or "socialist" systems, namely: rationing, long waiting lists, special favors, bureaucratic inefficiency, and unavailable or outdated technology. The report cited the following examples:
 -- The British system denies treatment to 9,000 kidney patients, and as many as 15,000 cancer and 17,000 heart patients each year.
 -- A Canadian patient died after his heart operation had been postponed 11 times. Now, about 100 Canadian heart patients go to the Cleveland clinic each year to receive timely treatment.
 -- Many people are waiting for surgery: 25,000 in New Zealand, 250,000 in Canada and more than 1 million in Britain. Canadians wait as long as seven months for open-heart and coronary bypass surgery.
 -- In Britain, New Zealand and Canada, from one-fifth to one-fourth of all hospital beds sit empty and another 25 percent are used by nursing-home patients.
 -- Seattle (population 490,000) has more CAT scanners (to detect brain tumors, for example) than the entire province of British Columbia (population 3 million).
 The authors are both senior policy advisers to The Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Musgrave is president of the Ann Arbor, Mich., consulting firm Economics America, Inc. and a former research professor of economics at the University of Michigan. Goodman is president of the National Center for Policy Analysis in Dallas.
 The Mackinac Center for Policy Policy is a non-profit, Midland-based research and education organization which produces reports and commentaries on issues of importance to Michigan policymakers.
 -0- 9/16/92
 /CONTACT: Lawrence Reed of The Mackinac Center for Public Policy, 517-631-0900/ CO: The Mackinac Center for Public Policy ST: Michigan IN: INS HEA SU:


SB -- DE021 -- 0285 09/16/92 16:12 EDT
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Date:Sep 16, 1992
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