Wednesday, August 22, 2007

NY Times scare stories on US Healthcare

It is strange how studies by groups like the World Health Organization (WHO) are trumpeted by news organs like the New York Times when said findings advance the preferred views of the news organ itself. It is even stranger when studies that do not represent the preferred beliefs of news organs, or corrections that make a moockery of a story (such as Duff Wilson's fantasy-laden stories about the Duke Rape Hoax) are hidden on the back page, or not published at all.

A case in point is the recent study by the WHO that finds US healthcare is only the 37th best in the world. Naturally, the Times put these results on the front page, without bothering to invetigate how the WHO reached them. This is relevant because as John Stossel points ou in his excellent rebuttal of the WHO study on, the study is fatally flawed in deteremining what amounts to "good" healthcare as opposed to "bad" healthcare.

According to Stossel, the WHO put high emphasis on life expectancy. Since the US has a much higher murder rate and auto-accident death rqate than virtually any other advanced country, this has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of healthcare one receives, it would perhaps have been nice if the Times had mentioned this. It did not. In addition, the WHO graded countries' healthcare system according to how socialist they were. As Stossel writes, "The WHO judged countries not on the absolute quality of health care, but on how "fairly" health care of any quality is "distributed." The excellence of care in this country thus was downgraded because not everyone has totally free access to it! This little point also did not make it into the Times' story, though it did make a point that our system is "unfair".

American healthcare certasinly does need fixing. But it would be nice if the media would cease their scare tactics in pursuit of a system like Cuba or Canada. Having lived in a country (Japan) that does have a central healthcare system, I am well aware that Japanese pay more for their system than I do for mine- even when I paid for my own. I also have a wife who is a registered nurse, and have had to pay some calls to doctors for treatment, so I have seen our system up close and personal. In the end, our system is not perfect, but it contains more positives than almost any other I have experienced. Too bad the Times can't focus on some of those positives, instead of trying to scare Americans into adopting a system that consistently does worse.

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