How Dare We Claim America Is #1 in Health Care?

Howard Hyde is author of "Pull the Plug on Obamacare," available in Kindle and paperback editions from More information, bibliography, table of contents and notes are available at his website:

It outrages some that conservatives and Republicans claim that the USA’s health care system is the best in the world and that the proper goal of reform is to continue to extend our lead, not “catch up” with more “enlightened” countries that have universal, government-directed health care systems. This assertion has been vigorously challenged by individuals citing anecdotal evidence and presumably scientific studies, such as the World Health Organization’s World Health Report 2000, which served as one of the key justifications for Obamacare. The WHO study specifically ranked the USA 37th of 191 industrial nations.

Yet Sally Pipes of the Pacific Research Institute, Scott Atlas of the Hoover Institution and many others have meticulously gathered and crunched data demonstrating that, at least prior to the current administration, the best country in the world to find yourself diagnosed with cancer or in need of a knee replacement operation or MRI exam, is the USA. This holds equally true for Saudi princes as for individuals without insurance.  In fact, the ultimate irony is that patients without insurance undergoing treatment for serious conditions have better outcomes on average than those covered by Medicaid. The government-run medical program with the worst record is being aggressively expanded by force and by bribery to be the default system for the majority of Americans.

Among 16 types of cancer, the U.S. men’s 5-year survival rate is 66% and the U.S. women’s survival rate is 63%, versus 47% and 56% respectively for European men and women. The USA has 81 Nobel laureates in Physiology or Medicine in the past half century compared to 67 for the rest of the world combined. Your risk of death on the operating table is 4 times higher in Britain that it is in the USA. Canadians wait 9 months on average for orthopedic surgery like knee and hip replacements.

But we’re number 37?

Yes, of course we are, if your criteria for the ranking is how well we conform to a politically-correct ideal of universal, government-run health care. If such hard, scientific and uncorruptible measures as “financial fairness” and “equality” as reported by the “impressions” of WHO staff members are your guide, then the USA falls short of the glory of Eternal Truth. That turns out to be the true nature of the WHO study, as exposed by Pipes, Atlas and others.

But if you’re looking for actual outcomes, with or without insurance, sorry, America is #1.

Or has been. As Obamacare forces us into conformity with socialist ideals, our outcomes may well place us 37th or worse among industrialized nations, in which case the anecdotes alluded to earlier will become increasingly common. We have already embarked upon that path since ratification. The only question remaining is why Republican office holders seem now so eager to pre-emptively surrender what power they have remaining to stop it.

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