November 6, 2009
Dems Exploit Infant Deaths to Sell ObamaCareBy William Tate
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:
Another CDC study in 2008 found that the number of preterm births in the U.S. has been increasing.
A primary reason for the increase in preterm births is the increasing number of multiple births. As a Princeton study reported,
As to the reason for the increase in pregnancies involving multiples, the study left little doubt:
And the authors added ominously:
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:
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:
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,
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