Saturday, May 08, 2010

The WHO, exposed

Around ten years ago the World Health Organization published a ranking of the world's health care systems. The U.S. was placed at #37, behind the likes of Colombia, Cyprus and the Dominican Republic. Unsurprisingly, the study was frequently cited by advocates of ObamaCare as an indictment of our current system (or the system we used to have, I guess). More sensible people looked at the actual study and saw both how subjective it was as well the questionable nature of some of the criteria. One of these criteria was the "distribution of financing." As one website explains:
In North America, Canada rates as the country with the fairest mechanism for health system finance – ranked at 17-19, while the United States is at 54-55. Cuba is the highest among Latin American and Caribbean nations at 23-25.
Got that? Cuba > USA. Right. You know who else the WHO thinks is just awesome? North Korea. I kid you not:

North Korea's health system would be the envy of many developing countries because of the abundance of medical staff that it has available, the head of the World Health Organization said on Friday.

WHO Director-General Margaret Chan, speaking a day after returning from a 2-1/2 day visit to the reclusive country, said malnutrition was a problem in North Korea but she had not seen any obvious signs of it in the capital Pyongyang.

North Korea -- which does not allow its citizens to leave the country -- has no shortage of doctors and nurses, in contrast to other developing countries where skilledhealthcare workers often emigrate, she said.
Those of us on the political right are given grief for labeling our political opponents as communists or commie sympathizers. And there's probably some truth to the criticism that the term is thrown around a bit too casually. But then again, sometimes the shoe fits.

HT: Radney Balko

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