Five myths about healthcare around the world

The airwaves are full of completely ridiculous commentary and flame-stoking rhetoric about plans to reform US health care. Most Americans don’t seem to want “facts”, preferring to stick closely to Colbertian “truthiness.” Well, the Washington Post has a great op-ed piece called “Five Myths About Health Care Around the World.”

Go read the whole thing, and pass it on to your friends too. Share it with your friends who start babbling about “death panels” and “we don’t want to be like France”. Here’s a sample.

4. Cost controls stifle innovation.

False. The United States is home to groundbreaking medical research, but so are other countries with much lower cost structures. Any American who’s had a hip or knee replacement is standing on French innovation. Deep-brain stimulation to treat depression is a Canadian breakthrough. Many of the wonder drugs promoted endlessly on American television, including Viagra, come from British, Swiss or Japanese labs.

Overseas, strict cost controls actually drive innovation. In the United States, an MRI scan of the neck region costs about $1,500. In Japan, the identical scan costs $98. Under the pressure of cost controls, Japanese researchers found ways to perform the same diagnostic technique for one-fifteenth the American price. (And Japanese labs still make a profit.)

Liberals need to do three things to get this reform done. First, we need simple arguments that are as compelling as “death panels” but which are based on truth. Second, we need to reject any rhetoric that attempts only to stoke fear, rather than to engage in debate. Third, we need to push for real reform, a plan that will get every American health care, which will increase our nation’s overall health and longevity, and which will also reduce total costs. We need this now.

So print out these five myths and hand them out on the streets or whatever it takes. It’s literally a matter of life and death.

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