Man in Japan Refused by 25 Hospitals and Dies; Could This Happen in US?
If you logged on to Facebook, or for that matter, any social media yesterday, you probably saw the headline. 75 Year old Japanese man died after being turned away fro m 25 emergency rooms a total of 36 times in 2 hours. The hospitals involved claim they had no bed for him, and a shortage of doctors to treat any more patients. Unbelievable, I agree, and I know what you are thinking: “good thing that would never happen in America.” Unfortunately, it was not long ago that would never have happened in Japan either. 10 years ago if you would have suggested to experts this would happen, most would have laughed. So, could this happen here? We may just be a few years away from it becoming possible.
The America of today is eerily similar to the Japan of a decade ago. Though the mostly-government healthcare system has worked for a generation in Japan, it is now taking on water faster than the ageing population can bail it out. Japan has a rapidly aging population, and a falling birth rate; just like we do. The Japanese national debt is limiting their ability to sustain the ageing population, and the medical system is the clearest symptom of the problem. As a population ages it typically pays less taxes; retired people made up the bulk of Mitt Romney’s infamous 47%. But unless there are people to replace those retiring, either by immigration or birth, the government has less money to support the extra healthcare costs that also come with an aging population. Trying to do more with less has never been a quality the government can hang its hat on.
I wrote months ago why I believed Obamacare would not work; well, here it is in practice. Obamacare will push tens of millions of people onto Medicaid, those who cannot afford the rising cost of insurance and those unfortunate enough to be demoted to part time hours, many elderly, and of course, those whose employers choose to pay the fine that is roughly 1/3 of what the cost would be if they were forced to provide insurance. The result of this will be placing the cost of healthcare for millions squarely on the shoulders of the government.
As we see in Japan, people who do not directly pay for their own healthcare have little incentive to stay out of the healthcare system. If the government is going to foot the bill, why not go to the doctor every time you sneeze? This seems to be the rationale in Japan, where clinics and hospitals are very over crowded, and patients often wait hours just to see the doctor for 30 to 90 seconds. I experienced this same pattern while living in Australia. This means that Japan is facing a doctor shortage due to the influx of patients; ergo, their overcrowding. Doctors often have to see 100 or more patients per day. This leads to patients depending more and more on medication and less and less on actual healthcare from their physician.
The United States has been facing a doctor shortage for a few years now, and it is only expected to get worse. Our national debt is climbing at alarming rates. Our population is ageing. Our healthcare system is becoming more and more subsidized. Our hospitals are already overcrowded. These are many of the same challenges Japan faced at the turn of the century. Not to mention their economic slowdown from a collapse of their manufacturing.
Might the path the United States is following lead to a 75 year old man dying because no emergency room could take him? The answer is, probably not. Immigration, one of our largest means by which we replace our work force, has long been almost non-existent in Japan. Also, the cost of healthcare has never come close to the cost in the United States. Furthermore, the Japanese healthcare system is much more centralized than Obamacare is—at least for now. Even still, the similarities are alarming. Many, myself included, feel many of the inefficiencies in Obamacare were designed to lead to a universal healthcare system. The older our population becomes the more we will need healthcare. If our doctor shortage continues, and we become a more universal healthcare system it is plausible that an ambulance in America may drive around for 2 hours begging 25 different hospitals to admit their patient.
6 March 2013
Posted on March 6, 2013, in Patriotslog Articles and tagged 75 year old denied by hospital and dies, aviation, climate, doctor shortage, environment, government, government healthcare system, hospital overcrowding, japan, Japanese healthcare system, Man is turned down 36 times by hospitals, Obamacare, politics, rising cost of healthcare, science, universal healthcare. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.