Sunday, October 14, 2012

41. WHO Study1

41.  WHO Study1


When the Democrats decided to make healthcare a crisis in this country, they loved to quote a World Health Organization study that ranked the United States 37th in the “quality of healthcare” compared to other countries in the world.  In fact, they are still quoting that study.  So, any discussion about healthcare would not be complete without analyzing this so called study, The World Health Report 2000.


First of all, remember that the countries being compared to the US all have socialized medicine of some sort.  Those folks were the ones that set up the criteria for the rankings and assigned the scores.  They based the ranking on how well they think a country’s healthcare system performed compared to how they THINK that country should have performed.  Sound a bit subjective?  It gets worse.  They ranked based on life expectancy and “responsiveness” of a healthcare system, and that sounds reasonable; but then they had a score for “financial fairness” and “responsiveness distribution” and “health distribution”.  Let’s look at these. 


“Financial fairness” measured what percentage of a family’s income was spent on healthcare.  They liked the idea of everyone paying the same percentage.  So, a country would get a better score if wealthy folks paid much, much more for their healthcare than poorer folks, similar to our federal income tax system.  The countries that had government deciding who paid for what healthcare scored highest… in other words, countries with socialized medicine.  Countries that had more variation, with some families paying a smaller percentage of their income on healthcare, and some paying a higher percentage, like the US, were penalized.  


“Health Distribution” and “Responsiveness Distribution” measure how “equal” the level of healthcare and responsiveness of care is for a country’s citizens.  In this scenario, a country that has poor resources and mediocre care for all ranks higher than a country, like the US, that has good quality for all, but exceptional quality for those who are able and willing to pay more.  Using a food analogy, if everyone gets hotdogs, it’s “better” than if everyone has access to hotdogs, but some eat lobster.  Me?  I think the WHO is full of baloney.

(Note: This commentary is by Dr. Jill Vecchio.)

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