On Jan. 6, the six Republican candidates who sat on the debate stage in New Hampshire stated: “We have the best health-care system in the world.” Well, Ron Paul probably disagreed with that statement, but the others were unanimous in praising our health-care system.
Obviously they missed my letter in the Asheville Citizen-Times in late September, in which I documented that we have the most expensive health-care system in the world, but far from the best.
Using some of the standard metrics employed to measure the effectiveness of health care, we find that we rank [about] 36th in infant mortality. Some of the countries that best us are Cuba, Canada, Slovenia, Germany and France. But don’t worry; we are better than Zambia, Niger, Latvia and Belarus.
The United States ranks [around] 37th in life expectancy. A few countries that exceed us are Macau, Canada, Iceland, France and Germany. However, we best Libya, Fiji and Algeria, amongst others.
Another good index of health care is population older than 65. Here the United States comes in [at around] 40th. Besting us are Poland, Canada, France and 36 other countries. Fortunately, we beat Albania, Aruba, Peru and Brunei.
The above data are available on more than one Web site, so I trust them to be accurate. So is it that the Republican candidates are lying, are naive, are ignorant, are misinformed—or do they just need to hire better advisors? I personally think they are just ignorant and don’t care what nonsense they hand out to the public.
— Thomas M. Kelemen-Beatty