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Web Letter

I hope the USA is not so quick to move to government-run care. Yes, it may be more expensive on a per capita basis. However, new drugs and treatments disproportionally are introduced in the US. According to the Annals of Oncology 2007 from the Stockholm-based Karolinska Institute, "the United States has been the country of first launch for close to half of the oncology drugs brought to market in the last eleven years." In Europe, drug companies must negotiate with government bureaucracies in setting prices, and patient access is more restricted.

The 2007 Lancet Oncology Study found that the five-year cancer survival rate was 55.8 percent in Europe and 62.9 percent in the US. If you exclude prostate cancer, the five-year survival rate for men is 38.1 percent in Europe and 46.9 percent in the U.S. While the male discrepancy is more than double including prostate cancer, there is substantial controversy over the efficacy of the early aggressive treatment of such a slow-developing carcinoma, and doubt if such treatment saves lives. Yet, we still come out ahead, not counting that cancer.

Sometimes when nations with socialized systems have a long wait for surgery, they subsidize or contract out such surgery to a freer-market nation. Hospitals in British Columbia have done that for cardiac bypass surgery in Seattle hospitals.

I could understand socialized emergency medical treatment, as patients don't have the time to weigh their options. However, as far as maintaining current access levels while keeping costs in check, I'd prefer greater use of medical savings accounts for routine expenses and catastrophic insurance for high expenses.

Steven Kalka

East Rockaway, NY

Mar 19 2009 - 2:43pm

Web Letter

It seems apparent that a man with such apparent high intellect and good intent has fallen pray to the same entrenched Wall Street/Washington interests. I listened to our president intently this week on his pontificating and prognostication on education. Please, those of you who hold sway on the man, try to keep him away from that subject. All I heard were the same old trite platitudes from the past. The Geithner/Summers duo seemed to be shilling for the wealthy all week like Paulson and company. He is sorta going to end the Iraq War. He is sorta going to change Wall Street, he is sorta going to not hire lobbyists. This is not the change and hope I worked for and voted for. Get it together or shut up.

James L. Pinette

Caribou, ME

Mar 15 2009 - 10:27am

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