Tag: fake

The Lies Opponents of Single-Payer Health Care Just Keep Telling

Craig Axford | United States

Another day, another article by an opponent of universal health care publishing lies about Canada’s single-payer health system. That’s right, lies. There’s no point anymore in giving the people that publish these articles the benefit of the doubt given both the evidence and people’s experiences with the health care systems they are attacking are so radically different from what they describe.

There’s a list of talking points critics of programs like single-payer work from. I’m sure at some point they were written down somewhere, but by now everyone on both sides of the universal health care debate can recite them from memory: single-payer is expensive, there are long wait times, patients are denied their choice of doctor, and of course people suffer and die needlessly as a result of one or more of the above problems.

In an article appearing in The Hill on July 28, Dr. Dean Waldman follows the talking points to the letter. He offers us a list of assertions, but no data to back any of them up. He makes a number of claims about the Canadian and British health care systems without once telling us how they compare either in terms of cost or outcomes to the US system, all the while implying the US system is far superior to both. My family’s experience is limited to the US and Canadian systems so I won’t spend much time on the UK’s National Health Service other than to cite some data.

No health care system is perfect. By its very nature health care delivery involves difficult choices. These choices are often forced upon health care providers and insurers (whether the insurer is the state or a for-profit company) under very difficult circumstances. If you’re looking for situations where the outcome was less than ideal, or even tragic, you can find examples in doctors’ offices and emergency rooms around the world.

But if you’re going to use these examples to tear down a country’s entire health care system and to hold your own up as superior at the same time, intellectual honesty demands that you show the examples you are using occur with less frequency in your own system than in the system you’re attacking. So, for example, you don’t allege one problem with the Canadian health care system is a lack of patient choice without also showing that there is a greater degree of choice under the American model. If it turns out there is less choice in the US than in Canada, you have to admit that the Canadians have at least done a better job of providing choice to patients than the US.

The same is true when it comes to cost. Telling people over and over again that single-payer is too expensive without providing any comparisons to the cost borne by consumers and society as a whole under the American model is being dishonest.

Dr. Waldman, like so many before him, makes a number of assertions without providing his readers with any comparative data. He claims, “The British and the Canadians pay a very high cost for their systems, and not only in monetary terms. Single-payer health care systems take away individual choice, they discourage life-saving research and innovations, and they exchange quality of care for a balanced budget.”

It’s worth noting here that the first sentence and the second appear to contradict each other. On the one hand “The British and the Canadians pay a very high cost of their systems” in, among other things, dollars, but on the other “they exchange quality of care for a balanced budget.” Either the government in these countries is spending a lot on healthcare or they are skimping on it to avoid deficit spending. Which is it?

Regardless, both in Canada and in the UK the amount of money spent per capita on health care is far below what Americans spend on it. In Canada’s case that was $4,752 in 2016. In the UK the amount was $4,192 for the same year. Dr. Waldman rightly points out that in the United States that amount is over $10,000 annually, but his failure to provide any context is troubling given he wrongly implies healthcare is incredibly costly in both Canada and the United Kingdom. Indeed, Dr. Waldman goes so far as to claim the single-payer system being advocated by Senator Bernie Sanders would cost a whopping $18 trillion, or roughly 90% of the total current US economy. Given Canada currently spends more than 50% less than the US per capita, that’s an obvious falsehood.

Source: Peterson-Kaiser Health System Tracker

Dr. Waldman and other critics of universal health care programs would likely respond that it is precisely this lack of spending that is the problem. Setting aside the fact that such an argument directly contradicts their claim that universal health care programs are too expensive, this objection raises the important question of what the citizens of countries like Canada and the UK are getting for their roughly $4 — $5,000 in per capita health care spending when compared to the average American’s more than $10,000 investment in the same product.

Given Dr. Waldman’s unsupported assertion that “There is death-by-queueing in single-payer systems, where sick persons die from treatable conditions because they could not get care in time and succumb ‘waiting in line’ for care,” we would expect to find that Americans spend less of their lives suffering from disability and disease than Canadians, the British, or others living under the heavy hand of government-run healthcare systems. But instead, the US leads the developed world by a wide margin when it comes to the number of years lost to disability or premature death.

Source: Peterson-Kaiser Health System Tracker “Disability adjusted life years (DALYs) are a measure of disease burden and the rate per 100,000 shows the total number of years lost to disability and premature death.”

Dr. Waldman works for the Texas Public Policy FoundationBy itself, this is an unremarkable fact, but one has to wonder if being from Texas is the reason he’s not so keen on drawing attention to the shortcomings of America’s healthcare when compared to other nations. Texas has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world. According to an NBC News story on the crisis in Texas, “Texas’ maternal mortality rates are 35.8 per 100,000 live births as of 2014, according to a study in Obstetrics and Gynecology. By comparison, the maternal mortality in Japan was 5 per 100,000 live births, according to UNICEF’s 2015 data. In Poland, it was just 3.”

What about life expectancy? Given Americans are spending so much on healthcare relative to everybody else, surely they get a few extra years for it. Nope. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), as of 2017 life expectancy in Canada was 81.9 years, in the UK it was 81.2, and in the United States it was 78.6. In fact, Chile and Costa Rica had higher life expectancies than the United States.

Finally, a note about choice. My wife and I have lived in Canada for seven of the last eight years and will be returning within days of this article. During our time in Canada, we’ve had several direct encounters with the health care system and have gotten to know a number of Canadians that have been dealing with it their entire lives.

Because my wife has type 1 diabetes, finding and keeping affordable healthcare in the United States was always a struggle. Group insurance through an employer was the best option, but this meant that every year as her employer signed on to a new plan she often had to find a new doctor because her old one was not part of the new insurer’s network.

As the name implies, single-payer means there’s one insurer for everyone. No doctor is outside a Canadian province’s network. If a Canadian travels to a new province, agreements between provincial governments guarantee coverage will be maintained. The only reason a doctor might turn someone away is because he/she is no longer accepting new patients.

My wife has been able to find a specialist she likes in Canada. There’s absolutely no danger that at the first of the year British Columbia is going to decide to drop her doctor from their network because every doctor is paid through the same network. In other words, Canadians have by far greater choice than Americans. Americans insured through their employer have no say in who the insurance carrier will be from year-to-year and the pool of doctors inside any given insurer’s network will always be smaller than the total number of doctors available. It is simply false to speak of American healthcare as an example of choice in this context.

Healthcare delivery always involves tough choices. Triage requires individual doctors and entire healthcare systems to prioritize the treatment patients will receive according to the staff and other resources available and the demands being placed upon the system on any given day. That’s true in every country in the world.

But Dr. Waldman and other critics of universal coverage are simply wrong when they say that countries like Canada and the UK are doing a poorer job of handling these choices than the United States. The statistics don’t support their claims and haven’t for quite a while. The fact that Dr. Waldman failed to provide data for Canada or the UK in his article should make clear he knew the data didn’t support his argument.

Speaking from personal experience I can say without hesitation that the cost to us of the Canadian system has consistently been very small relative to what we spent on healthcare in the US. Test results have been available to us within 24 hours every time and our treatment at doctor’s offices and hospitals have been excellent. In the US, getting test results required a return visit to the doctor’s office which usually meant another bill. The amount taken out of our pay-checks in the United States to cover our personal portion of the monthly insurance costs would have paid for roughly 6 months of premiums in British Columbia.

It’s time Americans stop listening to the critics of universal healthcare and start looking at the data. By every measure the American health care system is failing to deliver the kind of care so much spending should guarantee every single citizen. When it comes to health care the United States lives in one very big glass house. It should stop throwing stones at other countries and start taking a good hard look in the mirror.

Follow Craig on Twitter or read him on Medium.com

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Redpillblocked: How Candice Owens Is Tarnishing The Conservative Movement

By Joey Caso | United States

Stefan Molyneux, The Rubin Report, Louder with Crowder, Infowars and even Fox News have contributed to the fame of the young, attractive, black, conservative female by the name of Candace Owens. (More widely known as, Redpillblack). However, when right-wingers arranged to meet her it seemed that her external characteristics were all they had in mind once she made it clear she was a conservative. The truth is that she does not only contribute nothing new to the conservative movement, but she tarnishes it.

This can be clearly demonstrated in the exposition of her disastrous debate with the moderate-right, transgender Youtuber, Blaire White on the Youtube show, the Rubin Report in early November of 2017. In this “debate” that can only be described as an enraging, soul-crushing, dumpster fire, Candace opens up with something so meaningless, so irrelevant, so, as Blaire later describes, “petty”, it blows the mind of every competent person listening.

She starts off stating that she isn’t comfortable using the “she pronoun”, which is highly suspicious to begin a discussion for a mainstream conservative especially one that was a social justice warrior just a year before. She continues to say, “I think it betrays the audience when you make it sound like this is a petty catfight and there are two girls sitting across from a table, when in fact it is a grown man sitting across from a grown woman.”

It is at this moment when I share all the pain expressed in the disheartened face of Dave Rubin. Listening to her mini-rant was like drowning in a pool of built up tension and pure idiocy. This was the jagged foundation the rest of the hour and a half live-stream debate was built on, things only got worse from there.

I don’t know what was worse, the complete irrelevance and personally aggressive nature the statement contained or the idea that two women having a conversation about public disagreements would be a nonconstructive cat fight. It was at this point in my research of Redpillblack where I became massively skeptical about her political alignment.

To say what she said and then repeatedly and obnoxiously yell at Blaire White while playing the victim card was like watching a manifestation of what a radical liberal thinks a conservative is and what a radical conservative thinks a liberal is, in one person.

This debate was about Candace’s since-deleted site, Social Autopsy, an anti-harassment kick-starter many called out for being fishy, before and after she made her claim to conservative fame. The site collected people’s public information across all of their platforms and put it in one place. It had sections to insert someone’s pictures, first and last name, the city/state they live in, their social media URL’s, the school they go to and even their current employer, with the screenshots of the triggering thing they posted too, of course.

To make a site to hold someone’s feet to the fire when they post a stupid or slightly offensive meme is absolutely ridiculous. As she narrates in the site’s promotion video, she wished to create profiles compiled with the information I mentioned earlier for those who “lob hate speech over the internet.” With all of this in mind, I could have seen her side of the argument, this site could have acted as some kind of cyberspace invisible hand that disincentives bullying.

However, once criticism came her way her argument which she could have stood by was traded for fake ignorance, hypocrisy, and conspiracy theories. In the debate, Blaire White points out that the site could have been easily used for doxxing and according to her, was used for doxxing.

Social autopsy was a database that people used to enter information about others, the thing is that there is no telling if that information is public or not, Candace just assumes so. If you get mad at a friend or co-worker you can post a picture that they did not post online, an address that they kept private, an employer that they did not input into their profiles, etc.

Candace argued this database was “a non-functioning splash page” another point of contention in the debate. Many YouTubers and the “anti” community, like Andy Warski, took Blaire’s side saying the idea Social Autopsy was simply a splash page was unequivocally false.

After that Redpillblack then described all of the people who made videos criticising her dox-inviting database in hopes of getting it taken down, as “bottom feeders”.  She then continues to make the absolutely terrible point that “there’s so much going on in the world today” so its weird to dedicate your time on her and her crap chute of a site and not on terrorism or “everything that has been going on with the Trump presidency”.

Then there were the conspiracies.

In a Facebook video, Candace says that there were conspiracies about her being a government plant which in reality were very scarce. However, many questioned if she was truly conservative which is pretty reasonable considering what I have mentioned thus far. But what she did was make a conspiracy about the conspiracy by calling it a “deep web rumor” which was beyond an exaggeration, it was just plain false.

She then says that she firmly believes Richard Spencer, who agreed with her skeptics, is a “democratic operative”. You might wonder, ‘There must be a surplus of undeniable evidence to make such a claim.’ Well as you would probably guess by now, this is not the case. She provides approximately zero evidence to back up this claim as well as the next claim she spouts in which the conservative accounts criticizing her were apparently just “trolls” that were out to get her.

With all of this deception and overall suspiciousness, one would think it is reasonable to be skeptical of Redpillblack, right? According to her, absolutely not. She said in her Facebook video, “we cannot become skeptics”. So naturally, on my skeptic Instagram account, I commented all of my grievances in a respectful manner under one of her posts.

This was met with a nearly immediate block from her.

Minutes after commenting I could not find her account. So using one of my other Instagram accounts I went back to the post in which I commented to see my comment taken down and an array of endless positive comments, odd for such a contentious character.

So lets recap, Candace Owens is someone who is rude, obnoxious, suspicious and deceptive, who also believes everyone is out to get her and those who aren’t should not be skeptical of her. I don’t know about you but that does not scream conservative to me. But she still continues to climb the corporate ladder at Charlie Kirk’s organization Turning Point, where she currently resides as Director of Urban Engagement. It’s time for conservatives giving her a platform to block her, just as she blocked me.


Image from The Rubin Report.