Dems Support Guaranteeed Substandard Health Care for All

The Democratic Party platform will include "guaranteed" health care for all, the AP is reporting today.

It’s not clear how Dems plan to achieve this.  A proposal to mandate a single-payer, governmental-run system has been defeated, for now.

But "guaranteed" means "guaranteed," as in "even if you refused to pay for your own health coverage, you’ll be covered at someone else’s expense."

Front and center, once again, will be questions about the high price and poor quality of "free" nationalized health care.

For years, the liberal media have argued that U.S. health care lags behind that of countries with socialized medicine.  This has led to preposterous "news" articles in which reporters tout lower infant mortality rates in backwaters like Cuba.

This week Dr. Linda Halderman exposed the little secret behind the seemingly low infant mortality rates in countries outside the United States.  Although the exact practices vary from country to country, It all comes down to just not counting most infants who are likely to die in the first 24 hours.

Q: If socialized medicine is so bad, why are infant mortality rates higher in the U.S. than in other developed nations with government or single-payer health care?

A: U.S. infant mortality rates (deaths of infants <1 year of age per 1,000 live births) are sometimes cited as evidence of the failings of the U.S. system of health care delivery. Universal health care, it’s argued, is why babies do better in countries with socialized medicine.

But in fact, the main factors affecting early infant survival are birth weight and prematurity. The way that these factors are reported — and how such babies are treated statistically — tells a different story than what the numbers reveal.

Low birth weight infants are not counted against the “live birth” statistics for many countries reporting low infant mortality rates.

According to the way statistics are calculated in Canada, Germany, and Austria, a premature baby weighing <500g is not considered a living child.

But in the U.S., such very low birth weight babies are considered live births. The mortality rate of such babies — considered “unsalvageable” outside of the U.S. and therefore never alive — is extraordinarily high; up to 869 per 1,000 in the first month of life alone. This skews U.S. infant mortality statistics.

. . .  Some of the countries reporting infant mortality rates lower than the U.S. classify babies as “stillborn” if they survive less than 24 hours whether or not such babies breathe, move, or have a beating heart at birth.

Forty percent of all infant deaths occur in the first 24 hours of life.

In the United States, all infants who show signs of life at birth (take a breath, move voluntarily, have a heartbeat) are considered alive.

If a child in Hong Kong or Japan is born alive but dies within the first 24 hours of birth, he or she is reported as a “miscarriage” and does not affect the country’s reported infant mortality rates.

The length of pregnancy considered “normal” is 37-41 weeks. In Belgium and France — in fact, in most European Union countries — any baby born before 26 weeks gestation is not considered alive and therefore does not “count” against reported infant mortality rates.

Too short to count?

In Switzerland and other parts of Europe, a baby born who is less than 30 centimeters long is not counted as a live birth. Therefore, unlike in the U.S., such high-risk infants cannot affect Swiss infant mortality rates.

Efforts to salvage these tiny babies reflect this classification. Since 2000, 42 of the world’s 52 surviving babies weighing less than 400g (0.9 lbs.) were born in the United States.

Once again, the United States and its world leadership in quality health care have been unfairly maligned through the use of misleading statistics. 

How many times will this have to happen before people begin to learn?  The free market almost always works better than government-mandated delivery of services.

By the way, looking at the other side of the life continuum, who’s the oldest living person today?  By golly, it’s an American — Edna Parker from Indiana.  And Americans have frequently been the longest-lived person on earth.  But Democrats think they can do better with a heavy dose of bureaucracy.

So the Democratic Party platform calling for "guaranteed" health care for all should be seen for what it is:  A bid to bring guaranteed substandard health care to all.  Democrats certainly do not have a plan to improve the quality of health care most Americans are getting.  Their plan will instead kill free-market incentives, lock in massive new governmental inefficiencies, and generally make a mess of what may currently be the best healthcare system on Earth.

Cross-posted at GINA COBB

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