Health Care Reform Myths: Conservative FAIL, FAIL, and More FAIL!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

In today's Washington Post, T.R. Reid - author of "The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care" - totally demolishes the myths propagated (mostly) by conservatives about health care reform. In short, conservatives have it not just slightly wrong, but 180 degrees wrong. Here are T.R. Reid's main points, which I'd point out derive from - gasp! - actual empirical evidence and research he's done on health care systems around the world. I know, I know...don't bother Rush and Glenn and Sarah with the facts, they ruin their scary stories. Yeah, facts are like that.

Myth #1: "It's all socialized medicine out there."
Uh, no. In fact, "many wealthy countries -- including Germany, the Netherlands, Japan and Switzerland -- provide universal coverage using private doctors, private hospitals and private insurance plans." Ha. Even more hilarious, T.R. Reid argues, "[i]n some ways, health care is less 'socialized' overseas than in the United States." Myth #1 - FAIL!

Myth #2: "Overseas, care is rationed through limited choices or long lines."
Uh, no. In fact, "studies by the Commonwealth Fund and others report that many nations -- Germany, Britain, Austria -- outperform the United States on measures such as waiting times for appointments and for elective surgeries." Meanwhile, in Japan, "waiting times are so short that most patients don't bother to make an appointment." Myth #2 - FAIL!

Myth #3: "Foreign health-care systems are inefficient, bloated bureaucracies."
Uh, no. Actually, "all the other payment systems are more efficient than ours," with "U.S. health insurance companies hav[ing[ the highest administrative costs in the world;" In Japan, they go to the doctor 15 times a year ("three times the U.S. rate"), have "twice as many MRI scans and X-rays," and better "life expectancy and recovery rates." Yet in Japan, they pay less than half what we do per person per year for health care. If that's "inefficient" and "bloated," I'd like to see what "efficient" and "streamlined" might look like. Anyway...Myth #3: FAIL!

Myth #4: "Cost controls stifle innovation."
Uh, no. In fact, many other countries are conducting "groundbreaking medical research," and over in Japan, "Under the pressure of cost controls, Japanese researchers found ways to perform the same diagnostic technique for one-fifteenth the American price." Myth #4: FAIL!

Myth #5: "Health insurance has to be cruel."
Uh, no. In fact, in other industrialized democracies, "health insurance plans exist only to pay people's medical bills, not to make a profit," so they don't "employ armies of adjusters to deny claims" like they do here. Myth #5: FAIL!

Myth #6: "America has the finest health care' in the world."
Uh, no. In fact, "In terms of results, almost all advanced countries have better national health statistics than the United States does." To make matters even worse, "we force 700,000 Americans into bankruptcy each year because of medical bills," while the comparable numbers in France, Britain, Germany and Japan are...nada, zip, zero. Myth #6: FAIL!

Myth #7: "Death Panels"
Finally, another Washington Post article today completely demolishes the bizarre "death panel" myth. In fact, "For a decade, there actually were death panels in this country. And it was big government that ended them." Myth #7: FAIL!

What amazes me is how conservatives aren't just wrong on this issue, they are 180-degrees, empirically, categorically, undeniably, outrageously, even bizarrely opposite from any semblance of reality. Next subject: conservative myths about the supposed horrors of capping carbon and transforming our energy economy and how they're 180 degrees wrong as well...