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MIDKIFF TO HARTZLER: On U.S. healthcare, just the facts, ma'am

The Congresswoman's misbegotten stats
by Ken Midkiff


As Tip O’Neill said when he was Speaker of the US House of Representatives: "All politics is local."

Mindful of the Speaker's advice, U.S. Representative Vicky Hartzler should recognize that Boone County views are not the same views residents of other counties in her district hold.  Boone County residents are not stupid, and she should also know we will challenge her statements on matters of the public interest.

Obamacare represents "the hostile takeover of the best health care system in the world," Mrs. Hartzler wrote in the Columbia Daily Tribune earlier this month.

But a simple Google search reveals her assertion is fact-deprived.    Congresswoman Hartzler is entitled to her own opinions, but she is not entitled to her own facts.
 
Bloomberg News – not exactly a left-wing outfit – reported in August that, judged by costs and efficiency, the United States ranks 46th in healthcare worldwide -- among 48 countries surveyed.   Overall, the World Health Organization (WHO) ranks the USA 38th in healthcare.   More specific WHO standards (infant mortality, heart and cancer treatments, life expectancy, etc.) rank our country anywhere from 6th to 26th.
 
In no healthcare category, by any objective standard, does the USA rank as "the best health care system in the world." That honor belongs to Hong Kong, according to Bloomberg, followed by Singapore, Japan, and Israel.   Even Libya, Mexico, and Ecuador rank higher than the U.S.

So what has Rep. Hartzler been reading (or ingesting) that causes her to assert healthcare in this country is the best in world?   Does she know it simply isn't true, or is she just regurgitating a line fed to her by the Tea Party?  Repetition of a falsehood doesn’t make it true.  All it does is cast more doubt on the falsehood repeater.
 
Or is it that she voted to shut down the government, and is now using falsehoods to justify her opposition to a federal law?
 
Getting back to Tip’s advice, Rep. Hartzler does have a local office at 2415 Carter Lane, Suite 4, Columbia, MO 65201.

The Congresswoman represents us, and she will be glad to hear from you, so if you have something you think she should hear, go by her office and express your views.

Just be sure to back them up with real facts.
 
-- Ken Midkiff is a longtime Columbia-area columnist and conservationist
 
 
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