The advocates of government-run health care supplement their thin repertoire of legitimate arguments with a series of canards that they hope will be accepted as facts. Sally Pipes debunks five of these myths in The Washington Times:
I. 47 million Americans do not have insurance.
The [Census] Bureau counts anyone who went without insurance for any part of the previous year as “uninsured.” So, if you weren’t covered for just one day in 2007, you’re one of the 47 million.
II. Mandates will bring about universal coverage.
Even in Massachusetts [where such a mandate is already in place] … the government had to exempt a fifth of Bay Staters from the individual mandate because insurance was still so expensive. And, the plan is already $147 million over budget.
III. Prescription drugs drive health-care inflation.
The real price of prescription drugs is actually decreasing. In 2007, inflation rose more than 4 percent, while drug prices increased just 1 percent. So in real terms, drugs were 3 percent cheaper last year than in 2006, on average.
IV. Drug importation will save patients a fortune.
At most, according to the Congressional Budget Office, foreign drug importation would save Americans 1 percent … If the profit motive vanishes, the miracle sures for which America’s drug industry is responsible will vanish.
V. Foreign health care is better than America’s.
Americans have a better survival rate for 13 of the 16 most prominent cancers … An American man has nearly a 20 percent better chance of living for five years after being diagnosed with cancer than his European counterpart.
American health care is in serious need of reform, of course, but it can’t be done based on a bunch of politically fashionable myths. Any solution based on these canards will only make matters worse.