John Stossel of ABC NewsJohn Stossel, co-anchor of the ABC-TV news magazine 20/20, has been producing superb work as a reporter and analyst for ABC News for quite a few years. Tonight at 10 EDT on ABC he takes on the issue of health care in a 20/20 special, "John Stossel: Whose Body Is It Anyway? Sick in America," and his perspective is one most Americans will find very bracing and original.

That is because the truth about this issue is seldom reported by the mainstream press. The truth is this: government-run health care is disastrously poor, and private sector health care is by far the best, and is at its best when government keeps its hands off.

In anticipation of tonight’s program, Stossel wrote a very good oped for yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, which I highly recommend (both the oped and the newspaper). Herewith an excerpt from Stossel’s oped, to whet your appetite for tonight’s program:

[In his movie Sicko,] Mr. [Michael] Moore claims that because private insurance companies are driven by profit, they will always deny care to deserving patients. For this reason, he argues, profit-making health-insurance companies should be abolished, our health- care dollars turned over to the government, and the U.S. should institute a health-care system like the ones in Canada, Britain or France. . . .

When government is in charge of health care, the result is . . . that people get less of the care that is absolutely necessary. At any given time, just under a million Canadians are on waiting lists to receive care, and one in eight British patients must wait more than a year for hospital treatment. Canadian Karen Jepp, who gave birth to quadruplets last month, had to fly to Montana for the delivery: neonatal units in her own country had no room.

Rationing in Britain is so severe that one hospital recently tried saving money by not changing bed-sheets between patients. Instead of washing sheets, the staff was encouraged to just turn them over, British papers report. The wait for an appointment with a dentist is so long that people are using pliers to pull out their own rotting teeth.

Patients in countries with government-run health care can’t get timely access to many basic medical treatments, never mind experimental treatments. That’s why, if you suffer from cancer, you’re better off in the U.S., which is home to the newest treatments and where patients have access to the best diagnostic equipment. People diagnosed with cancer in America have a better chance of living a full life than people in countries with socialized systems. Among women diagnosed with breast cancer, only one-quarter die in the U.S., compared to one-third in France and nearly half in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Moore thinks that profit is the enemy and government is the answer. The opposite is true. Profit is what has created the amazing scientific innovations that the U.S. offers to the world. If government takes over, innovation slows, health care is rationed, and spending is controlled by politicians more influenced by the sob story of the moment than by medical science.