That well-famed claim that the US has a higher infant mortality rate than nations with socialised medicine? Not quite what it seems:
Q: If socialized medicine is so bad, why are infant mortality rates higher in the U.S. than in other developed nations with government or single-payer health care?
A: U.S. infant mortality rates (deaths of infants <1 year of age per 1,000 live births) are sometimes cited as evidence of the failings of the U.S. system of health care delivery. Universal health care, it’s argued, is why babies do better in countries with socialized medicine.
But in fact, the main factors affecting early infant survival are birth weight and prematurity. The way that these factors are reported — and how such babies are treated statistically — tells a different story than what the numbers reveal.
Low birth weight infants are not counted against the “live birth” statistics for many countries reporting low infant mortality rates.
According to the way statistics are calculated in Canada, Germany, and Austria, a premature baby weighing <500g is not considered a living child.
But in the U.S., such very low birth weight babies are considered live births. The mortality rate of such babies — considered “unsalvageable” outside of the U.S. and therefore never alive — is extraordinarily high; up to 869 per 1,000 in the first month of life alone. This skews U.S. infant mortality statistics.
When Canada briefly registered an increased number of low weight babies previously omitted from statistical reporting, the infant mortality rose from 6.1 per 1,000 to 6.4 per thousand in just one year.
According to research done by Canada’s Bureau of Reproductive and Child Health, “Comparisons of infant mortality rates by place and time should be adjusted for the proportion of such live births, especially if the comparisons involve recent years.”
Norway boasts one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world. But when the main determinant of mortality — weight at birth — is factored in, Norway has no better survival rates than the United States.
This is entirely unsurprising – anyone who is surprised that a government-run health care system would fudge the numbers to make themselves look good is the biggest fool alive. Remember, when a government bureaucrat sits down to work, there are several factors governing the work done:
1. To do as little as possible, because you don’t get paid more for doing more work in government.
2. To have as few mistakes as possible blamed on yourself.
3. To ensure that 100% of the budgeted funds are spent each fiscal year.
4. To ensure that any information coming out from your bureaucracy reflects well upon your efforts.
The perfection of government is an agency which does nothing while spending a lot of money which has as its end product a fabulous report of how great you all did, with a pitch for increased funding because, well, you can see that we spent all the money budgeted. The perfection of government agency is not a lean, mean public service machine boldly telling the unvarnished truth and desperate to do everything it can to serve the public. Given the nature of government, it is no surprise that such things as infant mortality aren’t reported exactly fair and square. What we have here is the problem of how to reduce infant mortality in a government-run program – they could have either worked harder and done more (and where’s the upside in that?), or they could just change what is called an infant to the point where a large percentage of infants who die aren’t counted. Presto! Without any additional work, you’re doing an even better job than before…
This is the sort of incompetance Obama has in store for us if he wins. We’ll get progressively worse services by agencies who continuously tell us that things are getting better all the time. Its not because Obama is a bad man, but because by putting government in charge he’ll only be turning it over to the people who’s incentives are to not work yet spend large sums of money.