God Bless America.
Zeke Emmanuel is a pretty prominent ethicist and with my former economics teacher/prof Vic Fuchs author of a not bad proposal for universal health care. He’s more famous as the least famous Emmanuel brother—the one who’s not in The West Wing or Entourage. And he thinks that the health care system is a mess. Now you’d assume that if he was fired one of his two very, very rich brothers could step in to keep his family out of the workhouse. But apparently not.
President Bush frequently has said Americans have the world’s best health care system, but Emanuel stopped short of calling Bush clueless in his essay (behind JAMA firewall)and during an interview with The Associated Press. “I work for the federal government. You can’t possibly get me to make that statement,” Emanuel said in the interview.
But don’t worry, the AP found a rent-a-quote to make the article fair and balanced:
David Hogberg, senior policy analyst at the National Center for Public Policy Research, said a strong case can be made that the U.S. health care system is the best. “It depends on what measures you use,” Hogberg said. Life expectancy is influenced by many factors other than health care, he said, and nations measure infant death rates inconsistently. Other measures show the United States performing well, he said.
Just in case you wondered the National Center for Public Policy Research may sound like its some official well respected non-partisan body but its header title describes it as a “A Conservative Think Tank” (an oxymoron perhaps). Yeah, those guys know all about health care, I’m sure.
However the reason for this fuss is the latest edition of the Commonwealth Fund’s six-nations report. What does it say? Same thing it’s said for ages. (Shorter version here) The US system costs more and is no better—nay, it’s worse. But Karen Davis and pals have this little zinger in the tail
Findings in this report confirm many of the findings from the earlier two editions of “Mirror, Mirror”. The U.S. ranks last of six nations overall. As in the earlier editions, the U.S. ranks last on indicators of patient safety, efficiency, and equity. New Zealand, Australia, and the U.K. continue to demonstrate superior performance, with Germany joining their ranks of top performers. The U.S. is first on preventive care, and second only to Germany on waiting times for specialist care and non-emergency surgical care, but weak on access to needed services and ability to obtain prompt attention from physicians.
Did you notice that? We’re not even Number One in shortest waiting times for elective surgery. Want to get your hip replaced most quickly? Move to FrankFurt!! I assume that David Gratzer and Sally Pipes are brushing up on their Deutsch right now.
And in other news…apparently Michael Moore isn’t a thorough fact checking reporter and according to his supporters(!) leaves behind a “trail of broken promises to colleagues, exaggerations of facts, and footage used out of context. Hmm, I’d never have guessed that (actually I’ve read one of his books and yup his “research” is incredibly sloppy. In fact so sloppy that apparently PhRMA and AHIP are on to him:
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America issued a statement attacking Moore’s record. "A review of America’s health care system should be balanced, thoughtful and well-researched," the statement said. "You won’t get that from Michael Moore.
And given the quality of “research” from those two organizations, do I have to add the next sentence for you?