A BABYTROLLBLOG READER EMAILS to relate an encounter with a troll. His comment to me was in connection with the Lying with Numbers post which appeared at BTB on Friday. The troll was attempting to retail the stale left whinge canard that implies the U.S. is near the bottom among developed nations in the quality of our health care. Which is total and utter bull-puckey.
The exact emission was: Why are 37 countries ranked as having better health care than we do?
My reader informs me that the probable source of the ranking is the World Health Organization (WHO), an arm of the United Nations Organization (UNO), which immediately makes it suspect.
In these rankings, the WHO means to compare America's medical marketplace with those in other Western countries which have socialized systems, and which promulgate -- propagate, evennn -- statistics which are meant to lead one to believe that those systems are somehow and ineffably superior to ours in terms of life expectancy and infant mortality rates.
There are only 2 reason that can even be asserted without being laughed off the island.
First: the U.S. has a high murder rate. Black-on-black crime that is politically incorrect to talk about. If you control for that, the life-expectancy rate goes up for everybody else. (And, incidentally, the violent crime rates drop below those in -- say -- The UK.) I would argue that this is the direct result of leftist politics which seek to place the blame for ill acts by individuals on society at large -- a society which has had nothing to do with the cause of their crimes. If young black men did not receive the impression that they could skate on crimes, or that they had a moral out because of their race, I suspect that the crime rates would be lower. (So, ironically, society is at fault for their crimes, but not in the way the left whingers would have you believe. ::grin:: )
Second: those other countries "cheat" on infant mortality statistics. They don't even count births -- such as premies, low birth weights, etc. -- where we make heroic efforts to save every one … and consequently fail some percent of the time. The point isn't that we have a higher infant mortality rate, but that they don't have the ability to save a child born prematurel, so they don't even try. And, of course, when a few don't make it, don't have to admit to the failure. They certainly don't count all those lost who were never born and couldn't have been for lack of the life support capability. I would submit to you that the failure of those other countries to even attempt to save these high-risk babies amounts to a lapse of fiduciary responsibility on the part of those societies -- a culpability, if you will in a sort of infanticide.
Funny that people who support infanticide should then turn around and use the death stats from the practice to bolster their case for communized medicine. But then, we've always known the kind of people they are, and shouldn't really be surprised at the depths of their perfidy. Far from indicting the American system, this fact turns that around and damns the collectivist system our left whinge is attempting to foist on us.
At least in the UK and Canada, it's pretty well established that you can't trust the numbers put out by the government-controlled national health body anyway. They jigger the numbers by outright lying and by denying access to service in order to meet their budgetary figures. Sorry, Mr. Ambulance Driver, we've exceeded our quota for the month, so we can't accept your passenger. Try another hospital. Oh? None of the others will accept your patient, either? Well, join the queue on the street and we'll get to you when we can. Might be hours for your emergency or months for your "elective" surgery. And, if we feel we can't afford to pay for your procedure, or that the social return on it won't provide sufficient return on our "investment," why, then, no medicine for you, even if you could afford to pay for it out of pocket.
The UNO figures include, as my reader wrote, a factor called "social justice," which is a flat-out oxymoron. Justice is an individual good, based on a relationship between an individual and another, or an indidividual and an organization (corporation or the state). Justice has absolutely NOTHING to do with the quality of or access to care, which is unparalleled here in the United States by ANY other system in the world.
Our developments in medicine, research, devices, tools, and pharmaceuticals supplies the global markets for these goods. The demand is there, of course, but the capital for development is lacking in places where government meddling in the market has prevented or outright forbidden the accumulation of capital. There are procedures and medicines commonly available here which are either totally unavailable anywhere else or are out of the reach of most people. You can get an MRI done within a week, usually in a private clinic set up for the purpose of providing that service. There are hundreds or thousands of such clinics across the U.S., each owning several machines. It has been reported that there is a fraction of that many machines in the entire country of Canada.
How much pain and suffering does a system have to cause before it is considered insufficient? How many horror stories does it take of death-by-delayed diagnosis or treatment in those socialized systems to convince you that these systems are first, founded in lies as to their efficacy and second abject failures at delivering the primary good in this situation, which is medical care?
Warren Meyer, of Coyote Blog, addresses this issue while answering a question (yes, Virginia, there are such things as stupid questions) posed by Ezra Klein. (Also: Billy Beck responds to Mr. Klein on a similar point. Beck's words should be engraved on the inside surface of the spectacles worn by every Democrat in the Western Hemisphere. (And they're all myopic enough to need glasses.))
The basic fact -- a law of nature, if you will (or even if you won't; nature will not be denied) -- is that there is no better delivery system for goods and services than a free market. To the extent that there are failures in our system to deliver medical care in a timely and effective fashion, those are earmarks of government meddling in the system -- such as the falsely perceived "requirement" for insurance to cover basic medical costs . The reason that our system is so incredibly superior to any socialized system is due entirely to the free, capitalist nature of the market, with the built-in incentives for creative entrepreneurship, with massive paybacks for investment of money, time, education, and human capital.
What the parties seeking to socialize our system fail to apprehend (or admit) is that they are headed in exactly the wrong direction, that if they turned around 180 degrees and began dismantling the system of price controls, of market-distorting subsidies, the counter-productive Gordian Knot of regulation and myriad state regulations (which, I submit, are ultra vires), there would be an instantaneous response from the marketplace -- a flowering, if you will, of resources and goods and services that beggar even the miraculous market we have now in medicine.
You have an example ready-to-hand with the market in one item -- prescription drugs. WalMart and Sam's Clubs started it with the $4 generic prescription. But now, it's nearly universal -- low-priced generic prescription drugs are available at any sensible pharmacy -- Kroger, Walgreens, CVS, RIte-Aid, Meijer, Target, et al. This was in direct response to the massive outcry at the high cost of medicines.
Now, your argumentative idiot troll will cavil that not all drugs are generic.
And you can shoot right back that that is true, and it is due in large part to government interference in the markeplace.
FDA regulations (for which there is no constitutional mandate, by the way, so they are technically extra-legal, and maintained only by the oppressive use of force by the state) drive the price of development so high that drug companies MUST jealously guard their patents in order to recoup their investments.
Not only that, but socialist systems abuse their state power (once again) to force drug companies to provide their products -- sometimes below cost -- or leave the market. (Which is what I would do, and then advertise as loudly as possible why I was doing it -- and let the governments in those places explain to their people.) This shifts costs back onto relatively free markets -- like ours. So, in effect, part of the high-price Americans pay for name-brand prescriptions is due to the thuggish arm-twisting of just the same kinds of people who are trying to socialize our system. How fucked-up is that?
Even so, every pharmaceutical company of which I am aware makes its pricier products available to those of limited means free or at reduced prices. Can you imagine that happening in a "market" in which the state has coerced all providers to meet artificially low prices to all for all products? If you can, please share your drugs, because you have to be high on something to believe that.
Not saying that drug companies would miraculously open their patents up any sooner if greedy government powermongers in America and elsewhere were to back off their unreasonable demands, but drugs would cost less if there were less government meddling in the market. Of that I am dead certain.
Not stumping to remove regulation entirely, here, but a great deal of what passes for regulation is, in reality, ass-covering for bureaucrats and does little to enhance public safety. (In fact there have been myriad anecdotes relating just the opposite -- that FDA meddling has made the market in drugs LESS safe.) I submit we would be far better served by a system modeled on the Underwriters' Laboratories, which has made certain classes of manufactured goods far safer than before, and at virtually no cost to the consumer. (Nobody's asking for government insurance for flat-screen TV's, after all, and have you been watching the prices plummet on those things lately?)
In effect, the American medical market pays for the drug development for the rest of the world. Were our system to be socialized as it has been in, say Canada, the net effect would be to drive many pharmaceutical companies (ironically, mostly those which produce cheap, high-quality generic prescription drugs) out of business, and make many promising new drugs marginally unprofitable, and halt their development in its tracks.
This. Is. Lunacy.
I have little patience for idiots such as this troll. These facts are not hard to find. They are the fundamental bits of information necessary for an understanding of the question of socializing medicine, and fools who fail to apprehend them are dangerous. They threaten to bring down the Republic -- and all of her citizens still desirous of preserving liberty.
My first response to that guy would be to tell him he's wrong. He's so utterly wrong as he ought to be embarrassed to show his ignorant face in public. That he should educate himself on the matters before spouting off his ignorance in front of his betters. And when he comes back and says, "I have educated myself," I'd tell him he has not; what he has done is look at a single chart of lying figures, put out by liars with ulterior motives toward their own power and self-aggrandisement, and that he is a sorry excuse for a citizen in a free country -- it's really too bad he has the vote, because it's wasted on him.
I've really had it with these ignorant putzes. Their stupidity really is a danger to the country -- hell, to humanity at large -- and the condition of ignorant bliss they put themselves in should be made to be socially unacceptable. Starting with high-profile idiots such as Charlie Gibson and …. Katie Couric! GOD what an airhead! Their dangerous ignorance needs to be pointed up and mocked loud and long at every turn.
Cross-Posted at Eternity Road.