The Media’s Health Care Lies


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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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  • brimp

    Most Leftists that I know do not believe in any of these 'facts'. They excuse the lies as a necessary tactic to get the zombie Americans to accept a fairer (socialist) system in place. They do not want to go to Cuba or Canada for health care. They know that rich people from these government controlled health care systems come to America to have operations and treatments.

  • davarino

    That is the only way the left gets their agendas accepted, through LIES.

    deal with it

  • USMCSniper

    When individuals bear no direct responsibility for paying for their care, as in Canada, that care is rationed by waiting. Canadians often wait months or even years for necessary care. For some, the status quo has become so dire that they have turned to the courts for recourse. Several cases currently before provincial courts provide studies in what Americans could expect from government-run health insurance. Canadians — 750,794 citizens are waiting a median of 17.3 weeks from mandatory general-practitioner referrals to treatment in 2008 — show how miserable things can get when government is put in charge of managing health insurance. Canada's federal and provincial governments have tried unsuccessfully to fix the long wait times by introducing selective benchmarks and guarantees along with large increases in funding. The benchmarks and the guarantees aren't ambitious: four to eight weeks for radiation therapy; 16 to 26 weeks for cataract surgery; 26 weeks for hip and knee replacements and lower-urgency cardiac bypass surgery.

    • wsk

      USMC,
      I always enjoy reading your posts.

  • Jim C.

    Prager starts with a false premise: some Americans believe they have lousy health care.

    No, Prager, the issue was never quality. The issue was always access and affordability/cost. The idea that health care needn't be tied to your employment situation, that children should not be denied care, and that the industry itself predicted its own unsustainability at the rate it was going. In other words, in five years, had we not attempted some sort of reform, most of us would be shut out from care we need, even though we were paying higher and higher sums

    I don't know whether Prager is being deliberately disingenuous, or is really that stupid. His argument amounts to "I found a Leftist in the woodpile, see?" and has nothing substantial to do with the issue of health care.

    • akbass

      Jim C…….perhaps you're just too stupid to grasp the premise of the article. With the title, "The Media’s Health Care Lies," Mr. Prager was obviously not intending to delve into the access, affordability, cost or any other "substantial" issue regarding healthcare. And since it's obviously the Leftist media propaganda that helped pass this monstrosity, I'd say that's pretty "substantial," and I certainly see nothing "disingenous."

      • trickyblain

        Where's the "lie"?

    • Democracy First

      As I understand it, Republicans wanted to reform minimally to achieve such ends as health care portability, so that coverage transfered with a job change. But Democrats wouldn't hear of it. They wanted a major role for government.

      It's also my understanding that with the system as it exists, anyone who cannot afford health care receives it for free. I have an unemployed American friend who had several emergency trips to the hospital in the past few months, and got great care without a bill.

  • Larry Linn

    There are 44 countries in the world have better infant mortality rates, and 48 countries have longer life expectancies than the United States. This is according to “The World Fact Book”, published by the CIA, back to the Bush administration.
    “Condemnation without investigation is the height of ignorance." Albert Einstein. Dennis Prager is empirical evidence.

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