Krugman shoots down top 5 myths about national healthcare
The United States spends far more on health care per person than any other nation. Yet we have lower life expectancy than most other rich countries. Furthermore, every other advanced country provides all its citizens with health insurance; only in America is a large fraction of the population uninsured or underinsured.
You might think that these facts would make the case for major reform of America’s health care system — reform that would involve, among other things, learning from other countries’ experience — irrefutable. Instead, however, apologists for the status quo offer a barrage of excuses for our system’s miserable performance.
So I thought it would be useful to offer a catalog of the most commonly heard apologies for American health care, and the reasons they won’t wash.
Excuse No. 1: No insurance, no problem.
Excuse No. 2: It’s the cheeseburgers.
Excuse No. 3: 2007 is better than 1950.
Excuse No. 4: Socialized medicine! Socialized medicine!
Rudy Giuliani’s fake numbers on prostate cancer — which, by the way, he still refuses to admit were wrong — were the latest entry in a long, dishonorable tradition of peddling scare stories about the evils of “government run” health care.
The reality is that the best foreign health care systems, especially those of France and Germany, do as well or better than the U.S. system on every dimension, while costing far less money.
But the best way to counter scare talk about socialized medicine, aside from swatting down falsehoods — would journalists please stop saying that Rudy’s claims, which are just wrong, are “in dispute”? — may be to point out that every American 65 and older is covered by a government health insurance program called Medicare. And Americans like that program very much, thank you.
So, now you know how to answer the false claims you’ll hear about health care. And believe me, you’re going to hear them again, and again, and again.
Click here to read the explanations for why each of the 5 are false.