The people who support Obamacare often tell us healthcare costs are very high in the United States compared to socialized countries.
Like other myths about soaring prices, this one is used to undermine faith in our system and open us to radical change for the worse (such as ObamaCare or even worse if that is possible!).
The statistics often cited by progressives seem to show that we spend a larger fraction of our GDP on healthcare and don’t get better outcomes than other countries. It is true we spend more but it is also true our outcomes are much better than the outcomes of the socialist countries because we have advanced medical devices and diagostic instruments, the latest technology and life saving procedures and more highly-effective and successful life-saving emergency equipment. Spending more on health care is not always bad if more good lives are saved, and is not always true our costs are higher because we have private rather than highly-inefficient government-controlled markets.
As a good example, in many of these socialist markets, if people are anticipated to have a low success for surgical recovery, the government denies these people access to the latest (and costly) live-saving procedures to keep the successful outcome rates that they report to the public as high as possible. Do we really want a health care system like this one --- the very kind of health care system the liberal Democrats now have in store for all of us!
Many of the surveys of “outcomes” that show other countries spend less for similar or better healthcare than the United States are just intentionally disingenuous (i.e., they lie). The ultimate example is the U.N.’s 2000 World Health Report, which has been extensively cited by progressives and the media. Yet there are concrete examples of its anti-American bias. For instance, the study included high-speed auto fatalities and frequent murders in our inner cities in their assessment of a country’s life expectancy, and then progressives cited that life expectancy to indict the U.S. healthcare system. Well, Americans drive more often on a more extensive highway system than most others, and we sadly have more street crime [in our minority communities] than many.
Reputable studies exclude these fatalities as, while tragic, they are not the fault of the healthcare system and should not be used to judge or modify the healthcare system. With these fatalities excluded, the U.S. ranks 1st in the world on life expectancy. With them included, we rank 19th, as reported in the 2000 study cited so often by ObamaCare advocates. The studies of infant mortality may be even worse, with the comparisons of what constitutes a live birth (and thus an opportunity for mortality) substantially different across countries, with the United States holding itself to the highest standard (and thus producing worse statistics). But, this does not stop enemies of free-market healthcare from citing warped statistics showing the United States to rank well below the truth, while to a person they’d all opt to have their babies in the United States, particularly if it was a complex or premature situation. That kind of hypocrisy is simply breathtaking.
Perhaps even more insidiously, most of the U.N.’s 2000 World Health Report does not really even rank healthcare outcomes. The actual oft-quoted final rankings, with the United States ranking poorly, are an average of many different ratings, many of them explicitly about how “socialized” or “progressive” a healthcare system is. For instance, their rating system gives 25 percent weight to “financial fairness,” and if one goes through their other categories you find they again are not rating who lives or dies or lives better (you know, healthcare outcomes), but how much the healthcare system has such things as “respect for persons” (this is part of the 12.5 percent weight they gave to “responsiveness,” which is separate from the 12.5 percent weight they gave to “responsiveness distribution,” whatever on Earth that is). The report goes further, judging these things with such objective measures as “respect for dignity” and “autonomy.” In total, more than 60 percent of a country’s score in this survey was some measure of progressive desires, not what you or I would call a healthcare outcome. And, as in our auto example above, much of the rest contained expressly anti-American flaws. That we pay for the United Nations to lie about us is a topic for another day.
In other words, in this often-cited study, and in many others created by the international progressive community, the U.S. healthcare system has been ranked low solely for not being one of socialized medicine. Personally, when I am told how the United States ranks on healthcare “outcomes,” I want it to be about whether my kids get good treatment, not about where we stand on the U.N.’s politically correct progressive agenda. But it’s this and other similar nonsense that the Obama team cited again and again to denigrate the U.S. system and push the case for radical reform. In summary, they say “we have done a survey and found we must reform our system and become more socialist, because the survey says we are not socialist enough.” That’s how they argue. Really.