Carol Platt Liebau: The Fine Print

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Fine Print

This is guest blogger Wile E Coyote.

This article by John Stossel peels back the onion on a World Health Organization report ranking the US healthcare 37th internationally, behind such countries as Morocco, Cyprus and Costa Rica.

Those interested in the substance of the article should check out the link. What interests me is how the New York Times picked up the story without delving into the methodology and weightings (some might say bias), the report's authors used to rank the countries. Bear this in mind when someone quotes opinion surveys to you.

Doubly interesting is how the Internet provides a forum for questioning and fact-checking the mainstream media. As Erwin Kroll said, "[e]verything you read in the newspaper is absolutely true except for the rare story of which you have first-hand knowledge."

Except for this blogsite, of course.


Blogger Earth to Carol said...

Strossel's logic fails me. Health care is supposedly excellent for the rich but he doesn't point out a single clinical study that shows the US has better outcomes for any given medical problem.

He claims the statistics are skewed by those who are poor, fat, lazy, and/or bad auto drivers. I'm shocked he just didn't say if it wasn't for the dead, we'd be at the top of the list.

10:21 AM  
Blogger Carol Platt Liebau said...

Coyote here.

Earth has identified better outcomes for given medical problems as a metric for ranking national health care.

Stossel has identified factors unrelated to healthcare that can skew life expectancies (a major metric of the WHO study) and argues the data should have been adjusted for these factors.

Is Earth arguing that the life expectancy data should not be adjusted for these factors, or that these factors will not have a significant impact?

10:34 AM  
Blogger Earth to Carol said...

I'd assume some adjustment had been made, perhaps not. But one would have to do a lot of adjustments. Those living in tropical regions might complain too many die of coconuts falling on people's heads or say the French drinking too much wine.

There are studies published that indicate our medical system does not do well compared to our countries in treating serious chronic medical conditions. The American medical society, NIH and politicians know what is happening but Americans are not being told by the press of the failures because there are too many special interests with big pockets.

Until we get public funding of political elections we're not going to get the real story of how everything is sold for cheap by our public officials to their cronies.

2:38 PM  

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