By Samuel Metz
Is the American health care system “the best in the world”? If so, perhaps Oregon is spinning its wheels trying to fix a health care system some U.S. congressmen say isn’t broken. Let’s hear what these national leaders say and then check reality.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says, “We do start with the notion, however, that we have the best health care in the world.” If McConnell had diabetes, he might pause. American diabetics suffer twice as many foot amputations as diabetics in Europe because they cannot afford care to prevent foot infections from turning deadly.
House Speaker John Boehner says we have “the best health care delivery system in the world.” But there are 35 other countries in which a pregnant woman and her baby have a better chance of surviving the pregnancy. The United States leads the industrialized world in deaths preventable with timely care. There are 15 other nations providing every citizen with lifesaving treatments denied to many unfortunate Americans.
During one of his presidential debates, Sen. John McCain said the U.S. offers “the highest quality of health care in the world.” Did he overlook statistics on lung disease? Americans with emphysema are 25 percent more likely to need hospitalization than people in France (the country with the best record). Asthmatics suffer worse: American asthmatics are eight times more likely to need urgent care than those in France.