Wednesday, September 2, 2009

WHO Says Our Healthcare System is 37th?

...Transmitting the Individualist Frequency

By Salvaterra

The World Health Organization (WHO), that’s who. A report released in 2000 by the WHO that ranks the United States healthcare system at 37th in the world is responsible for the current misinformation being spread by the President and congressional Democrats.

In the World Health Report 2000 the WHO set out to rank the healthcare systems of 191 countries from best to worst. For many, myself excluded, the first time the results of the WHO report gained their attention was during Michael Moore’s propaganda film SiCKO. Moore used the US’s ranking of 37th on the WHO index to try and convince viewers that Cuba has a far superior healthcare system to the United States. Some people actually believed it.

What Michael Moore, President Obama, and congressional Democrats fail to provide along with the rank number when promoting government-run healthcare is what the WHO used to arrive at these numbers. In 2008 Glen Whitman of the Cato Institute released a paper that explains the WHO’s methodology in terms that average Americans can understand found here:

The explanation of the WHO’s report is not very difficult to understand. Think “redistribution of health”. The index uses five factors to come up with an “Overall Attainment” rank for the countries: Health Level, Responsiveness, Health Distribution, Responsiveness Distribution, and Financial Fairness. The first two factors are legitimate, but the last three make no sense in measuring quality of healthcare.

Notice that I highlighted the word Distribution in two of the above factors. These two factors are included to measure how healthcare is distributed to the population of a given country. That’s right, they don’t measure the quality of the healthcare, they measure if poor people have the same health level and responsiveness as the rich.

The example used in the Cato paper is as follows:

Suppose, for instance, that Country A has health responsiveness that is “excellent” for most citizens but merely “good” for some disadvantaged groups, while Country B has responsiveness that is uniformly “poor” for everyone. Country B would score higher than Country A in terms of responsiveness distribution, despite Country A having better responsiveness than Country B for even its worst-off citizens. The same point applies to the distribution of health level.

So how exactly does measuring a country’s distribution of healthcare help when measuring healthcare quality? And how does this show that the United States has inferior healthcare to Costa Rica? Your guess is as good as anyone’s.

The next factor is Financial Fairness which attempts to determine what a “fair” level of healthcare expenditures is for households based on their income. This factor is also tied to distribution because if there is a wide diversity of income levels and healthcare expense levels distributed throughout a country (as is the case in the United States) then the Financial Fairness grade is worse. The Financial Fairness grade (25% of the overall grade) of the ideal country would be one where the percentage of household income spent on healthcare would be the same for all income levels. This can only happen when “the rich” pay more for healthcare even when they use the same amount or less than the poor. An outcome like this is more easily attained when a country’s government distributes payments for healthcare using tax dollars. Tax dollars which come from the country’s rich citizens, not the poor. The global bureaucrats behind the WHO have essentially tipped the scales of their index to favor countries with a single-payer healthcare system because of their definition of what “fairness” is. Again there is no measurement of the quality of healthcare received, just the equality or inequality of healthcare distribution. So much for shifting “from an ideological discourse on health policy to a more [scientific] one,” as the WHO has claimed to have done with this index.

The final aspect of the WHO ranking that gets the US to 37th is the performance of our healthcare system based on how much money is spent. One more time here, the quality of healthcare is not measured, the performance of the healthcare system based on the amount spent is what is measured. Glen Whitman uses the following example:

When Costa Rica ranks higher than the United States in the OP ranking (36 versus 37), that does not mean Costa Ricans get better health care than Americans. Americans most likely get better health care—just not as much better as could be expected given how much more America spends.

Anyone paying attention has heard President Obama or some other Democrat say that we pay more in this country for healthcare than any other country and yet we are still ranked 37th in the world. However, when looking at how the rankings were determined, it becomes clear that the global bureaucrats at the WHO are telling the United States our ranking did not suffer in spite of the amount spent on healthcare expenses, rather it suffered because we spend so much and they think our system should still be better. This is Obama’s basis for pushing to overhaul our entire healthcare system?

It is pretty bad when the Democrat party and the President of the United States start using the same points as an America-hating propagandist to try and move their agenda forward. The World Health Organization’s rankings are clearly ideologically based and were intended to be embarrassing to the United States, yet the WHO index is cited by leading Democrats and the President all the time. Still Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer have the nerve to call people questioning them unamerican!
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Other Posts On This Topic

* September 1, 2009 -- Breaking News!! NEW Lies From The Obama Administration On Health Care Reform
* August 25, 2009 -- Obama Explains How He Wants To Eliminate Private Insurance
* August 17, 2009 -- The Health Care Video Obama Doesn’t Want You To See
* August 13, 2009 -- MSNBC Host: Word “Socialist” Code For The “N-Word”

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