Health Care & The Best in the World - Truthiness isn't Truth...

January 13, 2011

I'm healthy. I like my doctors, and get to pick the doctors who provide my treatment - I don't have an HMO because I want that choice, and I pay extra for such a plan and the extra gives me great coverage - I almost never pay for anything. If my insurance company doesn't like my doctor, I could pay anyway, charge it on a credit card, and fight with them over the treatment. If I get really sick, I could fly to Johns Hopkins, the Mayo Clinic, or somewhere else where they treat a lot of cases like mine. These are all my choices. I am fortunate enough to have the choice. Of course most of society doesn't have the same choices.

But, You can't fool me into believing two things: [1] That the U.S. has the best health care system in the world, and [2] I am better off having my insurance company's bureaucrats and rules between me and my health than a government employee. At least the civil servant has to follow rules that the government decides will benefit the general health, and not those designed to make profits and pay for advertisements. The civil servant doesn't get a bonus for turning down claims, and neither does his boss.

It may feel good in our gut to tell ourselves we are the best, but let's deal with facts, not stomach issues. Such a feeling is what Stephen Colbert calls "Truthiness." That's something that feels like it should be true, or what we want to believe is true, but isn't.

Here's the CIA's study on life expectancy: THE DATA. In case you don't have the time to digest that information, it is summarized on Wikipedia.

Let me cut to the chase: the U.S.A. is 36th in the world in longevity. In 35 countries, people live longer than we: Such evidence is where Truthiness hits a brick wall. We are almost tied with Cuba [which is 35th]. And a lot of the countries higher up on the list have high infant mortality, otherwise their numbers would be a lot higher. If we have such great health care, why are we dying so fast?

OK, so people do come here to go to a particular hospital, medical center, or doctor who, by reputation, is perceived by these people to do a better job than anyone in their own country - that's the right wing/corporate/business/bought-off-politicians response to reality. But, these people aren't flying to San Diego to go to a local public hospital. They go to a particular doctor, or a particular hospital, where they think they can get the best care. Heck, one of my friends flew to London to have her eyes lasered so that she could see better without her classes. She heard from someone that this guy is the best, and he has a song and dance about why he can't use his techiques and tools in the U.S., even though he is a U.S. citizen.

And, of course, my employee's health insurance cost [which I pay] just went up another 15%, and not because of "Obama Care." Heck, if Obama had done what he promised we would all have coverage and at lower cost - put us all in Medicare and health care costs will stop being a major economic problem in this country.