Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Auto fatalities vs. life expectancy in U.S.?

WE NOW KNOW why the U.S. lags so many other countries in life expectancy. It has nothing to do with the comparative quality of our health care. Rather, we lower our longevity rate because we have more homicides and auto fatalities. At least that's an argument by conservative columnist Steve Chapman on today's Beacon Journal Op-Ed page. Right.

In a half-page spread that reads like an emancipation proclamation for our entire health-care industry, Chapman cites a study by two conservative academics in a book that came out in 2006 titled The Business of Health. The authors are Robert L. Ohsfeldt, a professor in the Texas A&M School of Rural Health who once worked for Eli Lilly; and John E. Schneider, an assistant professor at the University of Iowa.

Although I haven't seen anybody argue that our health care is shabby - it's not! - quality is one of the defense arguments for those who oppose health care reforms - as does Chapman when he cites homicides and auto accidents. The issues are cost containment for all and coverage for the uninsured, whose health care cost is now passed on to hospitals and those of us lucky enough to have Medicare, an idea once disdained by Republicans who are now out to minimize or defeat reforms. In Chapman's long argument to the jury, I noticed that he carefully avoided the cost issue for all of us as a burden that is driving some workers to give up their insurance coverage altogether because they can't afford monthly company co-pay of $600-$7oo.

All of this recalls the time when a lunch partner defended some horrendous big U.S. casualties in Iraq by citing the number of Americans killed on their highways at home.

Oh, well. The national media (read: television and op-ed columnists) are having a yummy time focusing on a Mr. or Mrs. "X" at Town Hall meeting suggesting that Obama ought to leave the country or that free medical coverage is not covered in the Constitution. Oh? Nor is Medicare and Social Security. Socialistic? You bet. Everybody who wants to give them up, raise your hand.

1 comment:

PJJinOregon said...

Wake up, Abe. Of course we have the best health care in the world. We have:
1. the most profitable pharma companies;
2. the most profitable health insurance companies;
3. the most profitable hospitals; and
4. the most profitable medical instrument companies.

How much better can our health care get? Only Republicans know.