Thursday, January 21, 2010

US Ranks 37th in Healthcare? Not Quite...

Many liberals justify scrapping our current healthcare system for a socialist one by citing a World Health Organization study that ranked the US poorly against other countries. A closer look at the study and its criteria, however, shows that it is grossly misleading and should NOT be a reason to move towards socialized medicine. Here are 10 reasons why:
1. The ranking was from 10 years ago and is not considered valid any longer (although I would bet that the ranking is still similar). Even a WHO representative admitted it was outdated.

2. The WHO took from 2 different collections of statistics, neither of which have both Canada AND France in the top 10; there is no ranking in which Canada is better than 10 while the U.S. is 37th. In the one with the U.S. at 37, Canada is 30th. The WHO took the US's lower rankings in each of these to base our status.

3. The WHO doesn't do the ranking based on its own investigation, but with numbers that were submitted to them. When they weren't provided with data, they made it up based on their own determined parameters.

4. Non-emergency doctor visits skewed numbers. For example, waiting a few days longer for a non-emergency doctor appointment was rated worse than having to wait months for chemotherapy.

5. Some of the criteria, such as infant mortality rate, did not take into account some crucial common sense factors. For example, if a baby is born alive in the US and dies 6 months later, that counts against our rating whereas a baby delivered dead (which was actually more common in some "higher ranked" countries) didn't end up counting against them.

6. Medical cost is not apportioned equally in this country i.e. "financial fairness". The pharmaceutical industry is heavily profit oriented and not many limits are put on that. Also, some people choose not to buy insurance, which skews the outcome numbers. Financial considerations made up a significant portion of this rating. When they were removed, the US ranked substantially higher.

7. The typical US diet is horrendous and we don't exercise resulting in obesity and chronic disease. This is a lifestyle problem, not a healthcare deficiency. This was counted against our healthcare system when it should reflect more on consumer choices.

8. The US healthcare system has refined itself in giving very good, but very expensive care in emergency situations and chronic degenerative conditions, but has not put much money towards prevention. This is an issue of financial priorities, not the quality of care delivered.

9. The WHO was being run by a socialist when the ranking was being decided.

10. There are too many differences in culture, government style, economic policy, healthcare philosophy, moral code, lifestyle, etc. to accurately compare and rate over a hundred countries' healthcare against each other.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, this really throws a wrench in a major liberal argument. They were even quoting this ranking on national TV. How embarassing.