Dems Exploit Infant Deaths to Sell ObamaCare

There are lies, there are damned lies, and there are the statistics that Democrats have ginned up to try to sell ObamaCare.

The most recent example comes from statistics bandied about by their media mouthpieces this week purporting that infant mortality rates in the U.S. prove that the health care system is sick and needs Drs. Obama, Pelosi, and Reid to cure it.

Big Media reported breathlessly this week that the U.S. ranks 30th in infant mortality rate. They preached that this standing reflects the quality of the country's health care system, that we fall short of other countries, and that we need to adopt ObmaCare.

Some media reports pointed out that the reason for the relatively high number of deaths was the number of premature births. They didn't say that among the main causes of premature births is the number of women, most of whom are in "higher socioeconomic levels," choosing to receive infertility treatment in order to bear children.

Thus, the higher infant mortality figures do not necessarily reflect inadequate medical treatment available for poor women, as has been implied. Instead, these figures are largely the result of increased use of infertility treatments by women who can afford them.

The devil is in...

Centers for Disease Control figures for 2005, the latest year available, show that U.S. infant mortality rates actually fell over the previous decade: "the infant mortality rate was 9 percent lower in 2005 than in 1995."

Nevertheless, decreases in infant mortality appear to have plateaued as compared to other advanced countries. This is not -- as Obamatons would have you believe -- from a lack of health care among poor women who can't afford it. Instead, evidence indicates that the relatively high rate of infant mortality in the U.S. exists primarily because older women who can afford healthcare are choosing to have babies.

A widely reported government study released Tuesday indicated that U.S. infant mortality rates are higher than in most European countries. Big Media played the story just the way Obama's spin-doctors wanted them to, casting supposedly inadequate health care as the bane of low-income pregnant women. But as the report actually states, "The main cause of the United States' high infant mortality rate when compared with Europe is the very high percentage of preterm births in the United States."

The study says that without the higher rate of preterm births, the U.S. would rank among the lowest in mortality rates:
In 2004, the U.S. infant mortality rate was 5.8, nearly twice the rate of 3.0 for Sweden, one of the two European countries with the lowest infant mortality rate... If the United States had Sweden's distribution of births by gestational age, nearly 8,000 infant deaths would be averted each year... the U.S. infant mortality rate would go from 5.8 to 3.9 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, a 33% decline.
Another CDC study in 2008 found that the number of preterm births in the U.S. has been increasing.
From 2000 to 2005, increases occurred for each preterm gestational age grouping ... the increase was most rapid for infants born in the late preterm period. ... In 2005, 36.5% of infant deaths in the United States were due to preterm-related causes of death, a 5% increase since 2000.

A primary reason for the increase in preterm births is the increasing number of multiple births. As a Princeton study reported,
The number of twin births in the United States almost doubled from 68,000 in 1980 to 132,000 in 2004, while the number of triplet-plus births skyrocketed more than five-fold from 1,337 to 7,727 during this period.
As to the reason for the increase in pregnancies involving multiples, the study left little doubt:
... delayed childbearing and infertility treatment (fertility drugs and assisted reproductive technology [ART]) have increasingly played a stronger role in the rising numbers of multiple births.
And the authors added ominously:
Infants born as part of multiple births tend to be born early (preterm), be of low birth weight, and face significant health problems associated with infant mortality ... The rising prevalence of multiple births will undoubtedly place increasing strains on health care insurance.
Other evidence suggests that the increase in pregnancies involving multiples, and the subsequent premature births, is tied directly to women who have chosen infertility treatment, and that they are of "disproportionately high socioeconomic" status. A study by the Delaware Division of Health concluded:
... because of the non-traditional material risk factors associated with Delaware's increasing IMR, there is concern that infertility treatment, including Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) may be responsible. ... Because insurance coverage for ART often is limited or lacking (and is not mandated in Delaware), parents of infants conceived from these treatments tend disproportionately to have high socioeconomic status. Infertility itself may result in less healthy pregnancies.

Thus, not only do such treatments contribute to the higher infant mortality rates, they also skew statistics for health care not covered by insurance.

The Delaware report also noted:
Mortality was increasing primarily among infants of non-traditional risk mothers (greater than 29 years, married, more educated, privately insured, initiated prenatal care in first trimester) ...

As to whether ObamaCare is needed to provide health care to at-risk, low-income women, an existing government program -- Medicaid -- already covers them. As the American Pregnancy Association says,
Pregnant women are covered for all care related to the pregnancy, delivery and any complications that may occur during pregnancy and up to 60 days postpartum. Additionally, pregnant women also may qualify for care that was received for their pregnancy before they applied and received Medicaid... Pregnant women are usually given priority in determining Medicaid eligibility.
The death of any child, premature or not, is a tragedy. To cynically use such deaths, even to misrepresent them, to further a political agenda is crass exploitation of the worst kind.

Should we have expected anything more from this gang?

William Tate is an award-winning journalist and author
There are lies, there are damned lies, and there are the statistics that Democrats have ginned up to try to sell ObamaCare.

The most recent example comes from statistics bandied about by their media mouthpieces this week purporting that infant mortality rates in the U.S. prove that the health care system is sick and needs Drs. Obama, Pelosi, and Reid to cure it.

Big Media reported breathlessly this week that the U.S. ranks 30th in infant mortality rate. They preached that this standing reflects the quality of the country's health care system, that we fall short of other countries, and that we need to adopt ObmaCare.

Some media reports pointed out that the reason for the relatively high number of deaths was the number of premature births. They didn't say that among the main causes of premature births is the number of women, most of whom are in "higher socioeconomic levels," choosing to receive infertility treatment in order to bear children.

Thus, the higher infant mortality figures do not necessarily reflect inadequate medical treatment available for poor women, as has been implied. Instead, these figures are largely the result of increased use of infertility treatments by women who can afford them.

The devil is in...

Centers for Disease Control figures for 2005, the latest year available, show that U.S. infant mortality rates actually fell over the previous decade: "the infant mortality rate was 9 percent lower in 2005 than in 1995."

Nevertheless, decreases in infant mortality appear to have plateaued as compared to other advanced countries. This is not -- as Obamatons would have you believe -- from a lack of health care among poor women who can't afford it. Instead, evidence indicates that the relatively high rate of infant mortality in the U.S. exists primarily because older women who can afford healthcare are choosing to have babies.

A widely reported government study released Tuesday indicated that U.S. infant mortality rates are higher than in most European countries. Big Media played the story just the way Obama's spin-doctors wanted them to, casting supposedly inadequate health care as the bane of low-income pregnant women. But as the report actually states, "The main cause of the United States' high infant mortality rate when compared with Europe is the very high percentage of preterm births in the United States."

The study says that without the higher rate of preterm births, the U.S. would rank among the lowest in mortality rates:
In 2004, the U.S. infant mortality rate was 5.8, nearly twice the rate of 3.0 for Sweden, one of the two European countries with the lowest infant mortality rate... If the United States had Sweden's distribution of births by gestational age, nearly 8,000 infant deaths would be averted each year... the U.S. infant mortality rate would go from 5.8 to 3.9 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, a 33% decline.
Another CDC study in 2008 found that the number of preterm births in the U.S. has been increasing.
From 2000 to 2005, increases occurred for each preterm gestational age grouping ... the increase was most rapid for infants born in the late preterm period. ... In 2005, 36.5% of infant deaths in the United States were due to preterm-related causes of death, a 5% increase since 2000.

A primary reason for the increase in preterm births is the increasing number of multiple births. As a Princeton study reported,
The number of twin births in the United States almost doubled from 68,000 in 1980 to 132,000 in 2004, while the number of triplet-plus births skyrocketed more than five-fold from 1,337 to 7,727 during this period.
As to the reason for the increase in pregnancies involving multiples, the study left little doubt:
... delayed childbearing and infertility treatment (fertility drugs and assisted reproductive technology [ART]) have increasingly played a stronger role in the rising numbers of multiple births.
And the authors added ominously:
Infants born as part of multiple births tend to be born early (preterm), be of low birth weight, and face significant health problems associated with infant mortality ... The rising prevalence of multiple births will undoubtedly place increasing strains on health care insurance.
Other evidence suggests that the increase in pregnancies involving multiples, and the subsequent premature births, is tied directly to women who have chosen infertility treatment, and that they are of "disproportionately high socioeconomic" status. A study by the Delaware Division of Health concluded:
... because of the non-traditional material risk factors associated with Delaware's increasing IMR, there is concern that infertility treatment, including Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) may be responsible. ... Because insurance coverage for ART often is limited or lacking (and is not mandated in Delaware), parents of infants conceived from these treatments tend disproportionately to have high socioeconomic status. Infertility itself may result in less healthy pregnancies.

Thus, not only do such treatments contribute to the higher infant mortality rates, they also skew statistics for health care not covered by insurance.

The Delaware report also noted:
Mortality was increasing primarily among infants of non-traditional risk mothers (greater than 29 years, married, more educated, privately insured, initiated prenatal care in first trimester) ...

As to whether ObamaCare is needed to provide health care to at-risk, low-income women, an existing government program -- Medicaid -- already covers them. As the American Pregnancy Association says,
Pregnant women are covered for all care related to the pregnancy, delivery and any complications that may occur during pregnancy and up to 60 days postpartum. Additionally, pregnant women also may qualify for care that was received for their pregnancy before they applied and received Medicaid... Pregnant women are usually given priority in determining Medicaid eligibility.
The death of any child, premature or not, is a tragedy. To cynically use such deaths, even to misrepresent them, to further a political agenda is crass exploitation of the worst kind.

Should we have expected anything more from this gang?

William Tate is an award-winning journalist and author