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If you believe that Americans have lousy health care, it is probably not because you have experienced inferior heath care. It is probably because you were told America has lousy health care.
Last week, major news media featured these headlines:
Reuters: “U.S. scores dead last again in healthcare study”
Los Angeles Times: “U.S. is No. 1 in a key area of healthcare. Guess which one …”
NPR: “US Spends The Most On Health Care, Yet Gets Least”
The Week: “US health care system: Worst in the world?”
Now let’s delve into this widely reported headline as written by Reuters.
For those readers who rely on a headline to get news — and we all do that sometimes — the issue is clear: America is rated as having the worst health care “again.”
For those who read the first sentence or two, an even more common practice, the Reuters report begins this way: “Americans spend twice as much as residents of other developed countries on healthcare, but get lower quality, less efficiency and have the least equitable system, according to a report released on Wednesday. The United States ranked last when compared to six other countries — Britain, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand, the Commonwealth Fund report found.”
For those reading further, the claim of the headline and of the first two sentences is reinforced. The third sentence offers commentary on the study by the head of the group that conducted it: “‘As an American it just bothers me that with all of our know-how, all of our wealth, that we are not assuring that people who need healthcare can get it,’ Commonwealth Fund president Karen Davis told reporters …”
Only later in the report does the discerning reader have a clue as to how agenda-driven this report and this study are. The otherwise unidentified Karen Davis, president of the never-identified Commonwealth Fund, is quoted as saying how important it was that America pass President Obama’s health care bill.
Could it be that Ms. Davis and the Commonwealth are leftwing?
They sure are, though Reuters, which is also on the Left, never lets you know.
Here’s how the Commonwealth Fund’s 2009 Report from the president begins: “The Commonwealth Fund marshaled its resources this year to produce timely and rigorous work that helped lay the groundwork for the historic Affordable Care Act, signed by President Obama in March 2010.”
As for Davis, she served as deputy assistant secretary for health policy in the Department of Health and Human Services in the Jimmy Carter administration all four years of the Carter presidency. And in 1993, in speaking to new members of Congress, she advocated a single-payer approach to health care.
I could not find any mainstream news report about this story that identified the politics of Karen Davis or the Commonwealth Fund. If they had, the headlines would have looked something like this:
“Liberal think tank, headed by single-payer advocate, ObamaCare activist, and former Carter official, says America has worst health care”
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