Although Obamacare threatens to increase the size and intrusiveness of government it's not pure socialized medicine. Despite this fact, the idea of socialized medicine frequently makes its way into today's health care debates. Many would prefer a single payer system. There may be lessons to learn from arguably the free world's purest example of socialized medicine: New Zealand. That's why I found this article of interest.
The author claims that New Zealand's system delivers “High-quality Patient Care at a Fraction of U.S. Costs.” Read the article and it's easy to understand the reduced cost. High-quality? Well, New Zealand's life expectancy does exceed that of the US by 1.9 years. Proponents of single payer health care are fond of invoking such statistics which, of course, are not adjusted for homicide, alcohol, drug related fatalities, etc. But as for quality, it may depend on whom you ask. In New Zealand you might wait two years for an echo. Door to balloon time for STEMI, depending on where you practice, might be hours to days according to the article.
The article, written by a hospitalist, dovetails with remarks by Dr. Timothy Flemming who often talks about New Zealand health care at this meeting. Dr. Flemming, who practices six months out of the year in New Zealand and six months in the US, paints a very similar picture of restricted options and long wait times, but notes that the Kiwis, who tend to value the commons over the individual, accept it quite well. The system would never fly in the individualistic culture of the US.