The Corner

Richard Cohen vs. John Boehner

The liberal columnist assails the Speaker-to-be for asserting that we have “the best health care system in the world.” Boehner’s assertion isn’t one I’m especially interested in defending, but Cohen’s attack is mistaken. Cohen’s top reasons for thinking we have a crummy system are our relatively low life expectancy and our relatively high infant mortality rate.

As conservatives and libertarians have pointed out time and again, the health-care system is not the reason for these statistics. Here’s the way I put it a couple of years ago: “In this country, a premature delivery followed by death would be counted toward the infant-mortality rate; not so in some other countries. And whatever we think of our health-care system, it is not to blame for the fact that America has a lot of car wrecks and homicides. When health economist Robert Ohsfeldt and John Schneider adjusted for these factors, the U.S. had the highest life expectancy of any developed country. (And they didn’t correct for obesity rates, which would make our advantage look even bigger, just like our waistlines.)”

Ramesh Ponnuru — Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg View, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

Most Popular

World

Trump and the North Korean Tipping Point

The world has been stunned by North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s announcement last week that he was suspending his country’s nuclear tests in preparation for the impending meeting with President Trump. Even critics have had to concede that Trump’s bellicose rhetoric since last summer regarding the North ... Read More
Politics & Policy

E Pluribus . . . Gridlock

A mantra we hear everywhere these days is that diversity is a good thing. And no doubt, it is. Diversity facilitates an exchange of ideas and opinions, and it promotes economic growth. Moreover, the alternative to diversity is to suppress the views and opinions of some subset of citizens, which is completely ... Read More
Economy & Business

Trade Misunderstandings

I was distracted by other policy topics last week but not enough not to notice Peter Navarro’s article in the Wall Street Journal, headlined “China’s Faux Comparative Advantage.” Considering Navarro’s position in the White House, it is unfortunate that it demonstrates some serious misunderstandings ... Read More