Saturday, August 29, 2009

Pro-life/Pro-lies Part 2

I've read a few conservative blogs that address health care without mentioning death panels and Obama's secret plans to...dare I say it...enslave hard working white Christians all over the world! Buried in with all the liberal loathing and France bashing are some good points. For example, comparisons between nations' infant mortality rates usually have the U.S. placing in the upper 20s, 30s or 40s, depending on your source. Actual conservatives (not the paranoid conspiracy theorists) have been quick to point out that this is comparing apples and oranges. While the U.S. is following the World Health Organization's methodology, all those dozens of other countries with lower rates are holding back data, according to the critics.
Similar arguments are made about life expectancy ratings. You'd think that the death panels and inferior care provided by socialized medicine, the French, Germans, and Canadians would be dying faster than US citizens and our superior health care. Instead the US comes in at #35 or #50, depending on the source. Does this mean that countries with universal care have a better system than ours? Not according to Steve Chapman:

One big reason our life expectancy lags is that Americans have an unusual tendency to perish in homicides or accidents. We are 12 times more likely than the Japanese to be murdered and nearly twice as likely to be killed in auto wrecks.

Chapman and the conservatives are right to point out that there are a lot of factors that go into a nation's health and well being than simply having health insurance. It's the "unusual tendency" Chapman refers to that intrigues me. We can argue about the validity of statistics, but there is obviously something unusual going on.

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