The Rest of the World and U.S.

Cherry picking is a logical fallacy where a writer or speaker cites certain facts or cases that support his or her argument while ignoring the bulk of information that in fact supports the opposite conclusion. Essentially, cherry picking is selective presentation of the evidence. Consider this argument:

We know the Honda Accord is the best car; its mileage is the best in class, and it has the best resale value.

While those arguments may be true about the Accord, the speaker is leaving out facts about safety (what if the Accord is in the midst of a safety recall?), its value (is the new car price too high for what you get?), drive experience (are the Camry or Maxima more fun to drive?), and so on, let alone that the speaker claims the superlative “best car” while only citing “best in class” fuel mileage and resale value. This is cherry picking.

This article from a few weeks ago in Morning Consult essentially cherry picks a few facts about the American and other countries’ healthcare systems to attack stricter regulation of pharmaceutical prices. Some of the best cherries in the article:

Generic drugs priced higher in other countries, but with already low prices for generics, does the cost savings from lower name-brand drugs cancel this out?

875,000 Canadians on waitlists for medical treatment, but how many Americans are awaiting treatment? How many are never able to obtain care because of cost?

Myriad other health stats like cancer survival rates, conveniently comparing the U.S. to only one or two other countries, and ignoring “big-picture” health stats such as life expectancy, infant mortality, and others, which are as a rule better in any other developed country with–the horror!–government healthcare.

I don’t think a socialized healthcare system in the U.S. is the answer, not in the immediate, foreseeable future at any rate. But such systems tend to deliver better care at lower costs to the government. Our healthcare system is good, but it’s way too expensive, and there are enormous gaps for the uninsured and under-insured. There’s a massive emphasis on addressing these flaws though, through changing incentives to healthcare providers via mechanisms like accountable care organizations, shared savings and risk, bonus payments for improved IT infrastructure, and so on. The long-term verdict is still out one whether these will be successful at reducing costs and improving quality, but they hold a lot of promise and will be a more navigable course for the U.S. than switching over to a British-style healthcare system.

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