Saturday, August 11, 2007

MSNBC: Vote Democratic!-- Uh, We Mean here's a New Study about the US and Healthcare

Interesting propaganda/ article over at MSN: "U.S. ranks just 42nd in life expectancy." A major reason for this ranking according to the "experts" in the article? Lack of universal healthcare, of course!

Researchers said several factors have contributed to the United States falling behind other industrialized nations. A major one is that 45 million Americans lack health insurance, while Canada and many European countries have universal health care, they say.

That's funny, two decades ago without universal healthcare, the article says the US ranked number 11 in life expectancy. So isn't it possible that something else is going on? Take a look at some of the comments to the article, there are a few reasonable people writing in who have some good questions and explanations for why the US's life expectancy stats tend to look low--here are a couple:

One of the major reasons why the U.S. ranks so low on the list in life expectancy is because, unlike nationalized healthcare countries, we try to save our preemie babies no matter what gestational age they are. In many nations w/ nationalized healthcare babies have to be at least 24 weeks gestational age or nothing will be done to sustain life. So if trying our best to save preemie babies ranks the U.S. low on the list then I say so be it.

What a pathetic study! There are no reported standards for controls.

1) US has a higher infant mortality rate and compares 13.7 for Black Americans as the same as Saudi Arabi. (Ummm, what about US teen pregnancy rates in the USA which are extremely high! Children born to teenage mothers are 1) under weight; 2) lower birth weights; 3) poor health to start life on; 4) live in substandard housing conditions. Nothing to do with "health insurance" as much as parents teaching their children to act responsibly and having a baby before one is educated w/jobs skills is not responsible behavior.);

2) US has a large immigration population -- both illegal aliens and naturalized. Was this accounted for in the study? For example, Asiatic-Indians suffer from an abnormally high rate of heart problems. Severe enough that the Asiatic-Indian community in the USA lobbied the US Congress for special funding for their community to address heart problems in this population.

There are a number of other explanations, none of which has much to do with insurance.

Have you noticed how the media is starting up the bash America/vote Democratic meme really early this go-round? Every article now reads like a catastrophe waiting around the corner unless all come to their senses and vote for a Democrat, stat. Even your life expectancy could be at risk. And they say that Republicans use fear as a motivator. Yeah, right.

Update: The NYT's chimes in on the healthcare debate: America, we're just awful and we'll prove it to you one headline at a time.


Blogger DADvocate said...

The obesity epidemic in the U.S. contributes to the lower life expectancy also. My kids went to France a couple of summers ago. They were amazed at the lack of fat people.

10:43 PM, August 11, 2007  
Blogger Don Surber said...

Excellent points. Race is a factor in longevity (as is sex). Risk s well.

11:14 PM, August 11, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Considering how rich French food is, that is worthy of note, being the lack of overweight people in France. Drudge Report had a link to an article (not up any more, just went back to look for it) stating how life style (U.S.) is contributing to a cancer epidemic in this country, among other epidemics I've read about. Other articles have stated the instances of cancers are in decline, or increasing at a decreasing rate. Except skin cancers caused by SUV's.

Smoking is stupid, that's a no brainer. Lack of exercise (I resemble that remark) certainly does not help. Most people I know, including me, could stand to lose 10 to 20 pounds, if based on the BMI. Some could stand to lose a hundred, or more.

I ride in a lot of airplanes. Even though I am about 20 pounds over, almost without fail, I have to tighten the seat belt after sitting down, to make it fit my form.

Now, how universal health care would change the above is beyond me at this point in time. Perhaps the idea at a later date, once equal health care for all is in motion, would be to refuse care to obese people - as the universal health care program in Britain is proposing to do. Or, to deny help to someone in advanced stages of cancer, or other terminal illness, because they will most likely die anyway. I can see that would lesson the burden on S.S., Medicare, Medicaid, etc., as America is graying. Nothing like contributing to the pot all your "useful" life, then dying off before taking back the first penny. Oops, tangent.

I wish more Canadians and Brits would write in, stating how good they think universal health care is. I've read a few posts here about it. Not impressed so far.

Surely not interested in changing my politics for something that doesn't seem to work. Can't stand the hypocrisy of a party that does what it accuses others of doing, while denying it in plain site.

8:12 AM, August 12, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of the MSM's supporting Dems is how much more obvious some have become about it, as though, "They know, so we might as well drop the 'impartial' facade."

We should be thankful for web bloggers and alternate news sources. Now interested citizens are not held hostage to a single point of view promoted by the AP/NYT/ABC/NBC/CBS. So thanks for your contribution, Dr. Helen.

9:09 AM, August 12, 2007  
Blogger Pablo said...

As a Canadian, I can tell you a few things about healthcare. Not only have I lived with it my whole life, but my wife is an RN. Anyways, long story short, a significant percentage of our doctors have headed south to the States because they're underpaid here (150k is normal, 250 k almost unheard of despite long hours). As a result, we import doctors from Africa and Asia at a rate that must surely cause a crisis on those continents.

Even so, waiting lists are very long (8-12 months for joint replacement, 6-8 months for an MRI), and there's no way you'd ever visit an emergency room without packing a lunch (4 hour wait on an excellent day, 6-8 hour wait is the norm).

The few private clinics which have been allowed to operate in British Columbia and Alberta are run more efficiently and at lower cost than normal hospitals (it's a business so the owners care. Makes sense) with patients reporting greater satisfaction with the treatment they've received. Wealthier Canadians choose those clinics or American treatment instead of getting on the waiting lists (even our Prime Ministers have done this repeatedly!).

So basically, universal healthcare is a costly, barely effective, and disorganized beast but it works if you've got a neighbor who allows its doctors to run private practices.

9:57 AM, August 12, 2007  
Blogger DADvocate said...

Pablo makes an excellent point. My doctor and his wife, also an MD immigrated to the U.S. from Canada abut 12 years ago. Both have reputations as good doctors. They made the move to make more money and they're quite happy with their income.

11:09 AM, August 12, 2007  
Blogger Thor's Dad said...

Give that such media bias has existed for a very long time and that there was no alternative media, i.e. bloggers and the internet in general, to function as a media/political gadfly and from which to obtain another viewpoint, its truly amazing that conservatives ever won national office in the past. Boy that was a long sentence, my fingers are tired, will this shorten my life span too?

11:47 AM, August 12, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

pablo, do you mean to say that outside of B.C. and Alberta, a doctor cannot have a private practice?

2:55 PM, August 12, 2007  
Blogger David Foster said...

One of the reasons people in France tend to be thinner is that there is a lot more smoking there. I'm sure there are other reasons, but that has to be a substantial contributor.

5:12 PM, August 12, 2007  
Blogger Joe said...

Dadvocate stated "The obesity epidemic in the U.S. contributes to the lower life expectancy also."

Except it's a myth. There is no epidemic and, in fact, obesity rates have declined for the last ten years.

5:39 PM, August 12, 2007  
Blogger Serket said...

I saw this article too and I thought there had to be other factors besides universal healthcare. Are we the only top 50 ranked country that doesn't have it?

That's funny, two decades ago without universal healthcare, the article says the US ranked number 11 in life expectancy.

This is a good point and something I didn't even think about.
The commenter who mentioned saving preemie babies has an interesting point to make. We do try to give great healthcare to a lot of people in this country.

2:10 PM, August 13, 2007  
Blogger Unknown said...


Policy is a lot more complicated then you're making it out to be. What we get with our present system is the worst aspects of privatized medicine coupled to the worst aspects of socialized medicine. It's made worse by the Ivory Tower/psychosis-inducing residency process that afflicts young, dedicated car4e-givers & turns them into Ivory Tower Monsters. And then there's all that unpleasnt conflict-of-interest stuff, compassion fatigue, lack of accountability (on the medical side), fear of defending patients against HMOs (on the physician side) & destruction of private resources by the medical overruns, many of which are equivalent to the USAF's famous $640 toilet seats & the general apathy of beauracrats to do jack if they can get away with something easier.

Don't tell me you don't know anything about this. I'm hoping for one more bloody birthday living free.

It is that bad, even for the educated & the relatively enabled, economically.

The Nannycrats bring easy jobs for huffy little managers with bad facial hair & lazy 20-something bimbos who are doing their toenails while they take your call.

The theocrats send you off to Jesus Clinic (my sincere apologies for all of you who truly believe and aren't just using The Word as an excuse to pad bank accounts--I am closer to you then I am to my more agnostic kin).

And anyone who gets sick, chronically ill, is left to wither and die. Even the NYT acknownowledged that mental health care recepients lose about 25 years from our lives, up 10 from a decade or two ago.

AN ENTIRE IDUSTRY has formed around health billing, all kinds. Empty paper.

Reagnism is not the answer. Neither is Socialism. Like all serious economic policy, the soltions are circumstantial, in the middle, and vital. You solve them or more people die.

Take that to the next Pajama Media party, the next 777 Youtube jam, the next donkey or elephant party convention.

Listen you prissy punks. I don't care who or what you vote for. I'm leaning towqards Gustave the Nilr crocodile. He's a genius at killing and eating people. there may be citizenship problems. Also, I don't want to break the record for simultaneously most moronic US Presidents, IQ-wise. I give thenod to Gustave, though. But I'm pretty sure he's a native of Burundi.

Anyway, He mostly eats the wrong people. so I can't really countenance that.

Maybe Paul or Gravel or even Obama. Possibly, Giuliani if he's got good people around him.

But I will not countenance the scum, the immolating S&M Bastille-mongering punks who yammer without a hammer. They don't want one.

look in a mirror, kids. See what you see.

I don't always like what I see.

But I masure up when it counts, whatever happens. I fail, sometimes, but I will never sell a soul for convenience.

look in the mirror, kids. What do you see. What have you sold?

Less then me?

Good. I could use your guidance. And I don't joke. I think I do okay, morally. But some people are better and I look to them for guidance. But the rest of you, burn your voter cards. Burn yor H3 Hummers.

And if the image is too ugly to bear, step into the fire.

Left or right, it ain't worth the fight.

See what it's like to crawl & scrape & live in fear. You can be living in Beverly Hills, a Navajo Reservation, Levittown, USA or the Exurbs, Inc (TM).

See what it's like. Live it without choice. Do that.

And come back with a vote. When you've earned it.

And if you have, good for you.

But all I see is people who've claimed opinions on their variable rate mortgages & punched-up college degrees, liberal arts, business or whatever.

And I've known too many idiot theocrats & domineering nannycrats to place much stock in the general consensus on either side.

Same to you too, Bubba.

1:58 AM, August 14, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, graham. Hopefully, somehow, things will be better for you in time.

Although every individual has a different idea of just what fair is, I believe everyone wishes life were fair.

My family's needs fell through the cracks of the system for over a decade.
I'm wrong sex, wrong color, and not an immigrant. Fact. But that's a different story.

It is frustrating, even frightening, to put it mildly. Absolute recovery is not possible. Just trying to get back to where we once were is monumental. At least it gives me a clear goal.

Keep at it, man.

5:37 AM, August 14, 2007  
Blogger kentuckyliz said...

Our infant mortality rates are also overstated because the US issues death certificates for stillborns and other countries don't--so it's an apples and oranges comparison.

I hope we don't go socialized. I'm on my third primary cancer, and many things relating to my diagnosis and treatment are very recent discoveries and innovations. For example, the HER2/neu marker and Herceptin to counter it; it's a genetic thing, a protein that makes BrCa tumor resistant to chemo. I'm positive for HER2/neu; taking the Herceptin strips the proteins and makes me chemo-responsive. Mom probably had it, too, but they didn't know about it in the late 80s/early 90s when she was treated. She died of BrCa mets. But I'm not going to.

America is the engine of discovery and innovation in medical science and technology in the world today, so the entire world depends on us NOT going socialized and killing off research. For that, I am happy to pay my premiums and copays. My out of pocket expenses on the BrCa so far has been $43.

Why would I want so-called FREE health care, if it prevents the discovery and innovation that will save my life?

Socialized medicine also automatically bumps 65 and older back on the waiting lists in favor of young people. Our senior citizen AARP voting bloc will not hear of that. They want Cadillac care and won't tolerate being lower priority. Politics is the art of the possible. Hain't possible.

2:31 PM, August 16, 2007  
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