Thursday, March 4, 2010

Gasp! Mit Romney is right about health reform

In his new book, No Apology, Mitt Romney writes (or has written for him) the following about health care reform in America: "The lifespan of the average American is less than that of people in nations that spend far less [on health care] To put it bluntly, we spend more and die sooner."

I don’t normally say this but Romney is right. Politifact looked at the facts. Here’s what they found.

First,[they looked] at life expectancy -- the number of years someone born can expect to live. The OECD's most recent figures, for either 2005 or 2006 (the year varies by country), show that the United States ranks 24th -- well under the average level for the 30 nations studied.

Specifically, life expectancy in the United States was 77.8 years. That put it behind the following nations, in descending order: Japan (at 82.4 years in 2006), Switzerland, Iceland, Spain, Australia, Italy, France, Sweden, Norway, Canada, New Zealand, Austria, the Netherlands, Germany, Ireland, Greece, Finland, Belgium, Luxembourg, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Portugal and Denmark.

Meanwhile, health and population economists at the World Health Organization devised another measure to gauge life expectancy -- disability-adjusted life expectancy, or how many years one can expect to live before becoming disabled by old-age illnesses. WHO did its last full-blown international comparison of DALE, as it is abberviated, in 2000, and the results are much the same.

The United States ranked 24th on the WHO list with exactly 70 years of DALE. It trailed Japan (with 74.5), Australia, France, Sweden, Spain, Italy, Greece, Switzerland, Monaco, Andorra, San Marino, Canada, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Norway, Belgium, Austria, Luxembourg, Iceland, Finland, Malta, Germany and Israel.

Now, we'll look at health care expenditures. There are two ways to measure this -- by expenditures per capita, or by expenditures as a percentage of GDP. However you measure it, we're No. 1 -- by a mile.

Using the first measure, the OECD reports that the United States spent $7,290 on health care per capita in 2007. The only two other countries where per capita health care expenditures exceeded even $4,000 were Norway and Switzerland.

Using the second measure, the United States spent more than 15 percent of GDP on health care in 2006, according to the OECD. Only Switzerland and France exceeded 11 percent.

To take one extreme case, South Korea spends less than a quarter per capita of what the United States spends on health care -- yet its people, on average, live past 79 years of age, which is more than one full year longer than Americans do.

See the complete article at:

So, Mit Romney is right. We have a lousy health care system in which we spend more for health care than other nations and die sooner.

At yet, Romney doesn’t want to do anything to make things better. He is opposed to comprehensive health reform just like all Republicans. Why is he opposed when he admits that our country does have a serious health care problem? It’s simple, he hopes to use his opposition to meaningful health reform for partisan political advantage. He wants to win the Republican nomination for president. Romney puts his political career above the interest of the country he says he wants to serve. Shame on you, Romney. Shame on you.

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