Letter to the Editor — Oct. 6

Free-market boasting often short on facts

Kent McManigal’s editorial in Friday’s paper — “Healthcare is best off in free market” — is typical of what I see as a major problem in political debates: It is based entirely on opinion and assertion, and is entirely devoid of data or objective information.

This sort of argument relies on the reader never to look beyond opinion pieces for information, which unfortunately is true of very many of us. I would argue that in this day of agenda-driven journalism in the United States, many of us can hardly differentiate between opinion and fact.

If one is willing to actually take a look at the world around us — beyond U.S. political debates, one finds that our healthcare system is shamefully behind the rest of the developed world.

For example, the World Health Organization ranked the U.S. 37th in the world with regard to healthcare based on cost per person and quality of care. 37th.

That is ridiculous — we’ve been doing something wrong.

How many of the 36 higher-ranked systems are entirely private, free-market systems? Zero.

Let me repeat that: Zero of the top performing healthcare systems are entirely free-market.

I’m not arguing that the Affordable Healthcare Act is perfect, but it is at least based on what is working in other industrialized nations. So we can either insist our opinions are facts (which is all too common in this country) and dig in our heels because TV and radio pundits tell us to, or we can be smart enough to look around us and investigate what actually works and what doesn’t, be self-disciplined enough to adjust our opinions to conform with actual evidence, and be humble enough to incorporate what works even if it doesn’t support our stubborn opinions.

If we could do that, we could solve much more than healthcare.


David Kilby


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