Monday, November 12, 2007

Giuliani Puts His Foot In It With the Claim He Would Have Only Gotten Quality Treatment For His Cancer in the U.S.

There is this myth that all of the extra money we spend on health care at least gets us the best care in the world. Study after study debunked that long ago and the fact that someone running for president doesn't understand that claim is a myth is inexcusable.

But Rudy Giuliani actually has a radio ad in New Hampshire that repeats the myth.

All Giuliani's remark did was give opponents of a market based health care system of care lots of legitimate ammunition. Ezra Klein did a particularly good job of "hoisting" Giuliani on his "own petard."

In that ad, Giuliani argued that in the U.S. the cure rate for prostate cancer is 82% while in England, with its "socialized medicine," it is 44%.

That hardly tells the whole story or gives an accurate impression.

The facts also are:
  • That the prostate cancer mortality rates for the U.S., Britain, Canada, and France are virtually the same.
  • In 1997, 28 males of every 100,000 died of prostate cancer in Britain. In the U.S. it was 26--hardly a fundamental difference.
  • Looking at a broader measure of "years of life lost per 100,000 of population for all causes," the U.S. finishes well back from the other leading industrialized nations.
  • It is also notable that the prostate cancer treatment Giuliani selected, prostate brachytherapy--using radioactive seeds, was developed by a physician in Denmark.
If you live in the U.S. you can have access to the best health care treatments in the world. But, other nations also have access to the best.

Sometimes people elsewhere have to wait longer to get the very best. Sometimes they don't.

Sometimes people in the U.S. don't get that great care. Sometimes they get much less care than in other industrialized nations.

A Rand report found that U.S. study participants only received 54.9% of "recommended care" while a separate survey of the uninsured by the Kaiser Family Foundation found 47% of people without health insurance said they had postponed seeking care during the last 12 months because of cost.

Politicians perpetuating our current health care system by repeating the myth that we have care that is always way better than care in the rest of the industrialized world are setting themselves up to be made "out of touch" on health care.

Giuliani better start paying some serious attention to the health care issue or, if he is the nominee, the Democrat is going to eat him alive.
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