- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Socialism and health care

Posted by: Nikhil Jaikumar ( DSA, MA, USA ) on September 07, 1999 at 22:09:09:

I have in front of me right now a list of the top 30 and lowest 30 countries in the world, ranked by the number of doctors per population.
This seems to be a useful statistic if one wanted to compare how well capitalist and socialist systems deal with teh problem of supplying health care.

Of the best 30 countries in this regard, in 1991 (the US was not one), 19 had been 'communist' very recently (the Soviet republics, Cuba, Vietnam, Bulgaria, Hungary), and 4 were socialist or social-democratic.
Of the lowest 30, eight were communist or formerly communist, and four were socialist or social democratic. These terms are used loosely, for example including Somalia, which had long claimed to be 'scientific socialist' but at teh time was enjoying some form of total chaos.

Given this, socialist states woudl seem to ahve a slight edge at provdiing health care to their population. Of course, there are other things taht need to be taken into account, for example how accessible doctors are to the poorest people and the average quality of doctors and medicine. However, socialist states can be reasobaly expected to have an advantage in teh first regard. In the second, while the doctors in say Vietnam may not eb as good as teh ones in America, that is a secondary consideration in a world where we are still struggling to provide even basic primary health care to everyone. And in fact, Cuba's medical establishment is quite highly regarded.

(the figures I used are from that notorious pinko-commie magazine, the Economist.)


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