Friday, November 6, 2009


The Great Myth about America’s Health Care System
by Charlie Leck

Richard Shelby, U.S. Senator from Alabama, only furthered the great fairy tale when he spoke out against President Obama’s health care initiative and called it “…the first step in destroying the best health care system the world has ever known.”

Of this, in his column in the New York Times, Nicholas Kristof said: “That self-aggrandizing delusion may be the single greatest myth in the health care debate.

Kristof is, mind you, not exactly a liberal or progressive, but I respect his well reasoned views anyway. In this column he is right on and I wish every conservative in the nation would read it.

Personally, I’ve harangued on this subject enough times that I shouldn’t do it again and drive you all crazy. Only remember this: America is way down on the World Health Organization’s list of quality medical and health care services to its citizens.

My friends, up here in the northern part of the United States, like to go on and on about how we don’t want to be like the Canadians. A few of our very good Canadian friends smirk at those comments and then regard Americans as fools who don’t know what they’re talking about. Regard Kristof on this subject.

“The United States ranks 31st in life expectancy (tied with Kuwait and Chile), according to the latest World Health Organization figures. We rank 37th in infant mortality (partly because of many premature births) and 34th in maternal mortality. A child in the United States is two-and-a-half times as likely to die by age 5 as in Singapore or Sweden, and an American woman is 11 times as likely to die in childbirth as a woman in Ireland.

“Canadians live longer than Americans do after kidney transplants and after dialysis, and that may be typical of cross-border differences. One review examined 10 studies of how the American and Canadian systems dealt with various medical issues. The United States did better in two, Canada did better in five and in three they were similar or it was difficult to determine.”

Or take a look at this study, explained by Kristof, which counts us dead-last, if you’ll excuse the morbid expression, among 19 nations.

“Yet another study, cited in a recent report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute, looked at how well 19 developed countries succeeded in avoiding “preventable deaths,” such as those where a disease could be cured or forestalled. What Senator Shelby called “the best health care system” ranked in last place.”

I am not going to go on and on. My important objective here is to send you to Kristof’s column.

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