November 9, 2007

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.


At 11/10/2007 9:00 PM, Anonymous sueshedap puhleeze said...

Dear Mr. Dope,
I find it curious that there aren't any comments yet on this particular subject you've presented.
Have found, absolutely from personal experience and imagine many others are involved in the same predicaments.....that the listed excuses are either blantantly untrue as is excuse #1, mostly generalized and/or not true as in excuse #2 and as for excuse least back then(the 50's) you didn't have to re-finance your home to pay the medical bills for relatively minor physical problems such as a broken bone, or a healthy birth of a baby or tetanus shot. I exagerate a bit, but not much on this point.
Then there's excuse #4....ooooo socialized medicine oooo boogie boogie boogie (imagine: Groucho Marxs; Night at the Opera)
Our country could use it's resources to do this, and I believe it could be done if the special interests(drug companies, etc.) were not allowed to form the regulations...AND if we quit giving "welfare"...that is...our tax money to the funding of the "special interests" of Dick, Dubya and Friends.
I would love to see this discussion take off.
Great Blog...keep up the good work!

At 11/11/2007 4:01 PM, Anonymous yinn said...

A couple years ago I heard a former poobah from the U.S. public health system say on NPR that most of our so-called health-care dollars go into the last six months of life, so we mostly have, in essence, "death care." There needs to be a huge shift into prevention but that cannot happen when emergency rooms are primary providers and county health departments get such a tiny slice of the pie.


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