As Democrats eye health care again, keep an eye on these phony 'narratives' they will tell
John Merline of Investor's Business Daily has always been that outfit's health care expert, not just explaining why Obamacare fails, but exposing all the smelly little shibboleths that propel such bad laws to find their way into the congressional ledgers. I think he actually read the 2,300-page original Obamacare law, quite unlike most Democrats who voted for it.
Now with Democrats coming back into the saddle, focused primarily on 'fixing' health care, (when they can stop themselves from thinking about impeachment), Merline's taking it to another level, exposing the baseline myth that health care overseas in western socialized settings is best. He doesn't even go for the low-hanging fruit, such as Castrocare that crazier lefties like to praise, he takes on places like France and Canada with supposedly socialized medicine we are all supposed to want and that Democrats say they have in mind for us. His important new piece exposing that phony narrative hits it out of the park.
The question often arises, "What is heath care reform and why do we need it?" The answer is almost always something like: The U.S. spends more than any other industrialized country on health care, but gets worse-quality health care. And, the U.S. is the only country that doesn't provide universal coverage to all of its citizens.
Each of these claims is technically true, but also very misleading. When you look at the data, the picture gets far more nuanced. And the alleged advantages foreign countries have over the U.S. start to dissipate.
What I like about the piece is that it tells me a lot of things I didn't actually know.
Did you know that there isn't really any such thing as 'socialized' medicine in Westernized countries? I didn't. I thought everyone overseas got a free ride, and it turns out they all have to pay something. It's like high deductibles we have here. Here's his example, citing Canada:
The fact is that every country — even communist China — relies on a mix of public and private payers, as well as out-of-pocket spending, to cover the cost of care. There are, of course, differences in the share covered by these entities. But no country relies 100% on government to pay for health care.
Take Canada, for example, which is often cited by health care reform advocates as a model of government-run health care. There, the government actually only pays 69% of the nation's health costs. Canadians pay 15.4% of the costs out of pocket, and private insurance covers 12.4%.
In the U.S., by comparison, government pays 54% of health costs. Private insurance pays 35%. And 11% is paid out of pocket.
Cripes, health care looks like a better deal here than there, and I'm one of those people who has to buy unsubsidized Obamacare. It's still a better deal here than in Canada, and we aren't even getting into quality of care, just nominal care.
He also breaks apart three other lefty myths:
First, the one on U.S. spending on health care, which he points out is a function of living in a rich country - his outline of the nuances of this is far more detailed and persuasive than I am describing - see it as the first point of his piece here.
Second, the myth of quality of health care based on life expectancy and infant mortality.
Life expectancy is an easy one to shoot down, as it doesn't take into account behavioral factors such as drug abuse, obesity and the murder rate. Strip out those and health care becomes a very small factor. Infant mortality is the same way. It's also defined in different ways in different countries and naturally, hellholes such as Cuba don't even count babies that died at birth. Cuba goes out and claims a low infant mortality rate when the reality is, they don't even try to save just-born babies. In the U.S. by contrast, every baby counts. Health insurance has very little to do with any of this, but sure enough, Democrats argue that they need to reform it as a result of this misleading picture. Merline also points out that health intervention isn't counted. How many people with cancer survive cancer in the U.S.? It's a lot more than survive cancer elsewhere. Quality of care matters and it is not counted by Democrats.
Third, Democrats yell a lot about health care being a 'right' in every country but the U.S., yet they fail to note that 'right' doesn't actually result in actual care in these places. Wait lines and refusals to do even the most basic surgeries taken for granted here are routinely denied in socialist systems as they ration out the care.
It's a provocative and important piece which gives Republicans just the intellectual ammo they need to resist the coming Democratic onslaught of fake myths about insurance that really are all about them getting their hands on your health care and handing it over to their cronies for redistribution. It's loaded with research and citations and shows the realit of the picture, and why free markets in health care are about the only thing that will really work. It's a must-read. Read the whole thing here.