Tucker Carlson don't need no stinking facts, cont'd

Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

Tucker Carlson, in a Washington Post online discussion today:

West Palm Beach, Fla.: Is Obama going to give the American people single-payer health care?

Tucker Carlson: That's the plan. I'd bet my house it'll happen in the next 10 years. Of course it will result in inferior care. It has every place it's been imposed without exception.

But here's the good news: Very rich people will still have access to the best treatment. While the rest of us are waiting 8 months for an MRI, or a year for a hip replacement, the wealthy will simply buy private medical care. It'll be a more equal system, in the way Cuba's is.

That led another reader to point out that Carlson doesn't actually know what he's talking about:

the wealthy will simply buy private medical care: Tucker, they do this now. And in case you forgot: statistically, Cuba's health care blows us out of the water.

I am a childhood cancer survivor, I basically can't buy insurance on the "open" market, through no fault of my own (unless you want to blame me for my childhood error of getting cancer). I will always have to work for some company that provides coverage to employees and won't be starting my own business and improving the economy unless things change.

P.S. I recently made an appointment for a potential medical issue I am having. My appointment is for mid July. My dental appointment I made is for September. Good thing we don't ration care like those loser Socialists huh?

So how did Carlson respond to the reader's point about US & Cuba health statistics? He didn't. He ducked it, leaving Ana Marie Cox to answer it instead:

Ana Marie Cox: I love it when the chatters bring the FACTS. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/blake-fleetwood/cuba-has-better-medical-c_...)

Statistics don't tell the whole story, of c -- I would not trade our system for theirs overnight, but they are startling.

Ana Marie Cox: And, of course, I wish you continued good health. Beating cancer is a challenge of the will as well as the body -- congratulations.

In 2000, the World Health Organization ranked the U.S. health system the world's 37th-best, behind France, Italy, Japan, Norway, Spain, Greece, the U.K., Switzerland, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Columbia, and a host of others. (WHO no longer compiles such overall rankings.)

More recently:

a spate of new research shows the United States well behind other developed countries on measures from cancer survival to diabetes care that cannot entirely be blamed on the rich-poor or insured-uninsured gulf. None of this implies a specific fix for the U.S. health-care system. It does, however, say that "the best in the world" is a myth that should not be an impediment to reform.

...

At $6,697 per capita in 2007, it [U.S. health care spending] is the highest in the world (20 percent more than Luxembourg's, the next highest) and more than twice the average of the 30 wealthy countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

If only it bought better care. Only 55 percent of U.S. patients get treatments that scientific studies show to work, such as beta blockers for heart disease, found a 2003 study in The New England Journal of Medicine. One reason is that when insurance is tied to employment, you may have to switch doctors when you change jobs. ... The result is poor continuity of care—no one to coordinate treatment or watch out for adverse drug interactions. Such failures may contribute to the estimated 44,000 to 98,000 annual deaths from medical mistakes just in hospitals, and to "amenable mortality"—deaths preventable by medical care. Those total about 101,000 a year, reports a new study in the journal Health Affairs. That per capita rate puts America dead last of the study's 19 industrialized countries.

Other data, too, belie the "best in the world" mantra. The five-year survival rate for cervical cancer? Worse than in Italy, Ireland, Germany and others, finds the OECD. The survival rate for breast cancer? You'd do better in Switzerland, Norway, Britain and others. Asthma mortality? Twice the rate of Germany's or Sweden's. Some of the U.S. numbers are dragged down by the uninsured; they are twice as likely to have advanced cancer when they first see a doctor than are people with insurance, notes oncologist Elmer Huerta of Washington Hospital Center, president of the American Cancer Society. But the numbers of uninsured are too low to fully explain the poor U.S. showing.

But none of seems to matter to the Washington Post, which lets Tucker Carlson make whatever claims he wants in these discussions, without backing them up with actual facts.

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