Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mythbusting From McCaughey

Former New York lieutenant governor Betsy McCaughey debunks some common myths about the US health system.

Here is an excerpt from her December 14, 2009 New York Post OpEd, "US Health Care Still Tops":
... On Nov. 20, for example, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) pointed to a large blue chart showing the United States in last place in health performance. "All of these countries have much lower costs than we do," he said, "and they have higher-quality outcomes than ours."

Conrad was duped by a bag-of-tricks report from the Commonwealth Fund (Health Affairs, vol. 27, no. 1, 2008). This put America in 19th place due to our nation's large number of preventable deaths -- meaning deaths from diseases that are curable if treated soon enough.

Yet most of these deaths are caused by heart disease and circulatory diseases. The United States has a high incidence because for 50 years Americans were the heaviest smokers and now are among the most obese. Bad behavior, not bad medicine, is to blame. Our health-care system treats these diseases very effectively.

As the National Bureau of Economic Research concluded, "It seems inaccurate to attribute... high death rates from these causes to a poorly performing medical system."
She also debunks other commonly promulgated myths about prostate cancer, breast cancer, and life expectancy which are often used by leftists to justify government-run health care.

For more details, read the full text of "US Health Care Still Tops".

The US health care system does have some serious problems. But those would be addressed by genuine free-market reforms, not bogus "reforms" that merely result in a government takeover of health care.