Politics & Policy

Think the U.S. Has Bad Health Care?

If you believe that Americans have lousy health care, it is probably not because you have experienced inferior heath care. It is probably because you were told America has inferior health care.

Last week, major news media featured these headlines:

Reuters: “U.S. scores dead last again in healthcare study

Los Angeles Times: “U.S. is No. 1 in a key area of healthcare. Guess which one . . . ”

NPR: “US Spends The Most On Health Care, Yet Gets Least”

Now let’s delve into the story as reported by Reuters.

For those readers who rely on headlines to get news — and we all do that sometimes — the issue is clear: America has been rated as having the worst health care “again.”

For those who read only the first sentence or two, an even more common practice, the story is that “Americans spend twice as much as residents of other developed countries on healthcare, but get lower quality, less efficiency and have the least equitable system, according to a report released on Wednesday. The United States ranked last when compared to six other countries — Britain, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand, the Commonwealth Fund report found.”

The third sentence offers commentary on the study by the head of the group that conducted it: “‘As an American it just bothers me that with all of our know-how, all of our wealth, that we are not assuring that people who need healthcare can get it,’ Commonwealth Fund president Karen Davis told reporters. . . . ”

Does the story identify Karen Daviss political sympathies explicitly? No.

Only later in the report does the discerning reader get a clue as to how agenda-driven the study was. Davis is quoted as saying how important it was that America pass President Obama’s health-care bill.

Readers have to turn elsewhere for the full story about the Commonwealth Fund and its leader. Here’s how the fund’s 2009 Report from the President begins: “The Commonwealth Fund marshaled its resources this year to produce timely and rigorous work that helped lay the groundwork for the historic Affordable Care Act, signed by President Obama in March 2010.”

Reuters also fails to mention that Karen Davis served as deputy assistant secretary for health policy in the Department of Health and Human Services for all four years of the Carter presidency. And in 1993, in speaking to new members of Congress, she advocated a single-payer approach to health care.

I could not find any mainstream news report about the new study that identified the politics of Karen Davis or the Commonwealth Fund. If they had, perhaps the headlines would have looked something like this:

“Liberal think tank, headed by single-payer advocate, Obamacare activist, and former Carter official, says America has worst health care.”

But of course, you’d be hard-pressed to find that kind of headline, given the leftward tilt of the worlds media.

The same thing happened on a far larger scale in 2000, when the world press reported that the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) had ranked America 37th in health care behind such countries as Morocco, Costa Rica, Colombia, and Greece.

This WHO assessment was reported throughout the world and regularly cited by left-wing critics of American health care. Yet, to the best of my knowledge, no one other than a few conservatives noted that Cuba was ranked 39th, essentially tied with the United States. Or that few world leaders travel to Greece or Morocco instead of to the United States for health care.

WHO doesn’t assess health-care quality, it assess health-care equality, exactly the way any organization on the left assesses it. And since the world’s and America’s news media are on the left, they report a leftist bogus assessment of American health care as true.

These two reports illustrate why so many people in America and around the world think America’s health care is inferior and why they support movement toward nationalized health care.

But these two reports are only one example of the larger problem — the worlds thinking is morally confused because it is informed by the morally confused.

Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and columnist. He may be contacted through his website, dennisprager.com.


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