In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 12, 2009 / 20 Sivan 5769

Are We Scaremongers?

By Mona Charen

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "This Time, We Won't Scare" boasts New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, strapping on his armor for the coming joust. The health care debate will be cheapened, he warns us, by scaremongers, just like those who "spread rumors" during the campaign that Barack Obama was a "secret Muslim conspiring to impose Sharia law on us." It will be subsidized, he says, by "the same firm that orchestrated the 'Swift boat campaign' against Senator John Kerry in 2004."

It's difficult to have an honest debate if your first move is to attempt to delegitimize the other side. Many liberals seem to believe that they never lose debates over policy; they are instead undone by conspiracies, lies, and manipulation by dark forces (usually corporate) on the right. To use the word "firm" regarding the Swift boat veterans is a case in point. There was nothing corporate about the way the Swiftees got together. It was the work of John O'Neill, who had debated John Kerry more than 30 years before, and hadn't forgotten a thing. As for the suggestion that opponents of nationalized health care are equivalent to those who whispered about Obama's Muslim links during the campaign — that is, or ought to be, beneath the New York Times.

Kristof also raises, as other liberal outlets like Newsweek have done as well, the old saw about infant mortality rates. We spend nearly twice as much per person on health care as Canada, Kristof writes, "yet our infant mortality rate is 40 percent higher." Advocates of single-payer commonly cite infant mortality rates because the U.S. lags behind other industrialized nations on this measure. But, as many studies have revealed, these numbers are not reliable. In the first place, nations have different standards about how to measure infant mortality. In some countries, a severely premature infant is labeled a fetal death instead of an infant death. Not in the U.S. In many nations, if a child dies within 24 hours of birth, it is labeled a stillbirth. Not here. Social and cultural factors — including maternal drinking, drug use, and age — are key to infant mortality and have little to do with access to or quality of health care. In America, infant mortality rates are sky high (five times the national average) on Indian reservations (which have publicly financed health care by the way through the Indian Health Service) and quite low in places like Utah and Washington.

There are other international comparisons that are more useful. Consider five-year survival rates after a cancer diagnosis. Unlike infant mortality, which is confounded by definitional and cultural factors, cancer survival rates are a pretty good measure of the quality of a health system. These numbers aren't perfect either. They are affected by factors like the uninsured in America (25 percent of whom are illegal immigrants) who tend not to get early screening for cancer and have more advanced cases at the time of diagnosis. The data that follow are accordingly all the stronger.

The journal Lancet Oncology has reported that American cancer patients live longer than those anywhere else on the globe. Betsy McCaughey, former Lieutenant Governor of New York and a health statistics numbers cruncher, interprets the Lancet's (and other) findings as follows:

American women have a 63 percent chance of living at least five years after a cancer diagnosis, compared with 56 percent of women in Europe. For American men, the numbers are even more dramatic. Sixty-six percent of American men live five years past a diagnosis of cancer, but only 47 percent of European men do. Of cancers that affect only women, the survival rate for uterine cancer is 5 percentage points higher in the U.S. than the European average, and 14 percent higher for breast cancer. Among cancers that affect only or primarily men, survival rates for prostate cancer are 28 percent higher in the U.S., and for bladder cancer, 15 percent higher.

The British Health Service keeps costs down by rationing care through long waiting lists for service. The Manhattan Institute's Dr. David Gratzer reports that an estimated 20 percent of British lung cancer patients considered curable when they were first placed on the waiting list for chemotherapy or radiation were incurable by the time they obtained treatment.

An argument often advanced by single payer advocates is that nationalized health care leads to more preventative care. But an analysis by the Commonwealth Fund found that American women are more likely than those in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand to get regular Pap tests and mammograms. In Great Britain, men do not start getting screened for colon cancer until age 75. In the U.S. men are urged to get their first colonoscopy at 50.

We can certainly make improvements to our health care system — decoupling tax deductibility from employment would be a great first step. But let's be clear: We have a lot to lose if we follow the example of Europe and Canada. In fact, those countries are starting to move back toward more market-grounded approaches. Let's not march backwards in the name of progress.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment on JWR contributor Mona Charen's column by clicking here.

Mona Charen Archives

© 2006, Creators Syndicate