Tag Archives: Life Expectancy

Obama’s policies ignore the needs and concerns of men

Christina Hoff Sommers
Christina Hoff Sommers

Christina Hoff Sommers re-caps Obama’s history of introducing anti-male policies at the American Enterprise Institute blog.

Excerpt:

The Affordable Care Act mentions “breast” 44 times, “prostate” not once. It also establishes an elaborate and expensive network of special programs to promote women’s health. Programs for men are nowhere to be found. What explains the imbalance?

When President Obama took office, he promised to insulate his administration from organized lobbyists. Yet, from day one, he granted the women’s lobby unprecedented influence. The results should trouble fair-minded feminists.

The 2009 stimulus program set the pattern. The president had originally called for a two-year “shovel-ready” plan to modernize roads, bridges, electrical grids, and dams. Women’s activists were appalled. Op-eds appeared with titles like “Where Are the New Jobs for Women?” and “The Macho Stimulus Plan.” More than 1,000 feminist historians signed an open letter urging Mr. Obama not to favor a “heavily male-dominated field” like construction: “We need to rebuild not only concrete and steel bridges but also human bridges.” Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women (NOW), attacked the “testosterone-laden ‘shovel-ready’ terminology.” Christina Romer, who chaired the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, would later say, “The very first e-mail I got . . . was from a women’s group saying, ‘We don’t want this stimulus package to just create jobs for burly men.’”

The president’s original plan was designed to stop the hemorrhaging in construction and manufacturing while investing in physical infrastructure. It was not a grab bag of gender-correct transfer programs. The whole idea was to get Americans back to work, and it was “burly men” who had lost most of the jobs following the financial collapse of 2008. But as protests mounted, the president’s team reconfigured the bill according to NOW’s specifications. In a column entitled “Economic Recovery: What’s NOW Got to Do with It?” Gandy could hardly contain her elation: “As we looked through the act, over and over we saw reflections of the very specific proposals that we had made, and with big numbers next to them. Numbers that started with a ‘B’ (as in billion).” To read Gandy’s column is to understand why shovels are still standing idle and the stimulus was such a disappointment

A year later, the 2010 Affordable Care Act created an Office of Women’s Health, a National Women’s Health Information Center, a Coordinating Committee on Women’s Health, and more — right down to the mandate that universities pay for students’ birth-control pills.

The average lifespan of American men is five years shorter than women’s, and men contract the big diseases several years earlier. According to the American Cancer Society, men’s lifetime risk of developing cancer is approximately 1 in 2; for women, it is 1 in 3. But the Act is informed by the spirit of NOW and other women’s organizations such as the American Association of University Women. It would never occur to these groups that the health and longevity of men are matters of interest to women. To them, relations between the sexes are a zero-sum game — and their role is to fight for women and against men.

Most striking of all is the Obama administration’s blindness to the growing problem of male academic underachievement. Girls outshine boys by nearly every measure of classroom success. They earn better grades, take more advanced-placement and honors courses in high school, and are far more likely to go to college. Women earn 57 percent of bachelor’s degrees, 63 percent of master’s degrees, and 53 percent of doctoral degrees. According to a recent Harvard study (“Pathways to Prosperity”), the new passport to the American Dream “is education beyond high school.” Today, far more women than men have that passport.

Yet the president persists in acting as if our schools are a hostile learning environment for girls, one that warrants aggressive federal intervention. Pressured by groups like the AAUW and the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), the White House recently announced that the Department of Education would be adopting a more rigorous application of Title IX to career, technology, and engineering programs in high school and college — to stop the alleged boy-favoritism that is shortchanging girls. To avoid federal investigations that threaten withdrawal of financial support, programs will simply enroll fewer males.

Male readers, did you know about these issues, and the others that Christina brings up in her article? Probably not. It’s a funny thing but sometimes I think that men do need to be a little more vocal about how laws and policies discriminate against us. After all, if we are poor and sick and unemployed, as Obama seems to want, then we cannot do much good for anyone. We need to take care of ourselves even if our ultimate goal is to serve others.

Thomas Sowell on health care: thinking beyond stage one

Young Thomas Sowell

Economist Thomas Sowell explains what socialized medicine means for all parties – and what evidence is ignored.

Excerpt:

The same preference for talking points, and the same lack of interest in digging into the facts about realities, prevails today in discussions of whether to have a government-controlled medical system.

Since there are various countries, such as Canada and Britain, that have the kind of government-controlled medical systems that some Americans advocate, you might think that there would be great interest in the quality of medical care in these countries.

The data are readily available as to how many weeks or months people have to wait to see a primary-care physician in such countries, and how many additional weeks or months they have to wait after they are referred to a surgeon or other specialist. There are data on how often their governments allow patients to receive the latest pharmaceutical drugs, as compared with how often Americans use such advanced medications.

But supporters of government medical care show virtually no interest in such realities. Their big talking point is that the life expectancy in the United States is not as long as in those other countries. End of discussion, as far as they are concerned.

They have no interest in the reality that medical care has much less effect on death rates from homicide, obesity, and narcotics addiction than it has on death rates from cancer or other conditions that doctors can do something about. Americans survive various cancers better than people anywhere else. Americans also get to see doctors much sooner for medical treatment in general.

Conservatives are the reality-based community.

Wayne Grudem defends what the Bible says about same-sex marriage

The thing I love about Wayne Grudem is that every time I read his view on some issue, I find that he does two things well. First, he does a lot of research to know what the Bible says, and I always learn something new about the Bible from his analysis. Second, he confirms and applies what the Bible says using real world evidence, especially statistics. It seems to me that the role of the pastor/theologian, which almost no pastors and theologians do well, is to link what the Bible says to the way the world really is. Pastor/theologians should be concerned with explaining what the Bible and then taking the next step to persuade people to act on what the Bible says by engaging their intellects with arguments and evidence.

Here’s how Wayne Grudem does exactly that in this San Francisco Examiner interview about same-sex marriage.

Question to Dr. Grudem:

…is the subject and practice of Gay Marriage and Same Sex Blessings no longer a controversy and of public and Christian debate and discussion? Is it a done-deal in our society given the success of the “Gay Agenda” in the Military, American Foreign Service, California Courts, Massachusetts, other States in America and even in the present Presidential and Federal Administration’s practice of no longer supporting the federal law known as the Defense of Marriage Act?

Part of his answer:

The main thing I want to emphasize in this discussion is this: The primary question in this controversy is what kind of intimate, cohabiting, potentially child bearning relationship does society want to encourage and reward and protect? Up to this point, American society has decided to encourage and promote marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman, because it gives immeasurable benefits to a society that no other relationship can provide. This relationship is better for raising children, better for protection against domestic violence and abandonment, better for encouraging lifelong companionship and care, better for encouraging sexual faithfulness, and better in many other ways, that I explain in my book Politics—According to the Bible.

But homosexual relationships do not give these benefits. Male homosexuals experience a 25 to 30 year decrease in life expectancy, and much higher incidence of many chronic diseases.

Sexual faithfulness is far different among married heterosexuals: 90 percent of heterosexual women, and over 75 percent of heterosexual men have never engaged in extramarital sex. But among male homosexuals the rate of sexual faithfulness is around 2 percent, even when “faithfulness” is generously defined as ten or fewer lifetime partners. Such statistics are seldom reported in the mainstream media. The question is, is this the kind of relationship we as a society want to encourage, reward, and promote by giving it the status of “marriage” and all the societal encouragement and endorsement that that status carries?

I don’t think any society today should criminalize homosexual conduct (as some legislators in Uganda are now attempting to do), any more than I think society should criminalize adultery or fornication, because these are private acts between individuals that government should not intrude into. But I also don’t think society should encourage and promote such relationships by calling them “marriage” and giving them all the benefits that go with marriage. And so the issue is not whether homosexual couples can get married, but rather, do we as a society wish to redefine marriage in its entirety so that it is no longer a relationship between one man and one woman? The homosexual agenda is attempting to redefine what marriage is, and I think that would be a terrible mistake for our society.

Wow. I’ll bet you that nobody was expecting the conservative evangelical to bring the evidence on a moral issue. But that’s just what Grudem did.

You may recognize many of the points Grudem makes from the research-laden posts that I have written before about same-sex relationships. He is basically saying 1) let’s look at what the Bible says, and then 2) let’s try to see the evidence that proves or disproves what the Bible says. Basically, if you believe the Bible is true, then you should be able to look out at the world and see that… the Bible’s true! And in order to convince Christians and non-Christians to accept the correct position on controversial issues, then you need to approach the issues like Wayne Grudem approaches them. (See the related posts for a few more examples of Grudem in action)

When Wayne Grudem uses evidence, it makes it a lot easier for people who listen to him to do what the Bible says, because he gives them reasons and evidence that they can accept even if they don’t accept the Bible. It’s like if I told you how an automobile works by explaining the internal mechanisms that make the car go, with experiments and statistics to prove each point. After you listened to me explain, then you would understand that gas goes in the gas tank and not in the radiator. “I sincerely believe” is not a reason to believe that I know what I am talking about. I have to show you evidence. My investment advisor may have sincere beliefs about my teeth, but I’m not letting him poke drills into my mouth. We need to be careful that our own natural tendency to be lazy doesn’t cause us to miss the method of persuasion that is taught in the Bible: reason and evidence.

But back to the same-sex marriage issue… If one of the public purposes of marriage is to give children a stable, lasting environment to grow up in, in which they can be nurtured by two parents who have biological inventives to nurture them, then it is clear that same-sex marriage cannot do this as well as traditional marriage, in most cases. The environment of a same-sex relationships is just not the same – and the differences undermine the stability that children need. Obviously, there is more we could do legislatively to help children, such as giving tax breaks for stay-at-home parents, by offering school choice, by cutting income taxes, by making no-fault divorce illegal, and so on. And when we talk about the issue, we need to put the needs of children front and center. This is the reason why marriage exists in the first place. If we focus on the needs of adults who want their “rights”, then we lose. We need to focus on the rights of children – the right of a child to have a mother and a father, in the home with them, nurturing and guiding them to maturity.

Wayne Grudem knows how to make his case

More posts about same-sex marriage

Cato Institute destroys the myths of inferior health care in the USA

The article is here by Michael Tanner of the prestigious Cato Institute.

Excerpt:

The Claim: Though we spend more, we get less.

The Facts: America offers the highest quality health care in the world. Most of the world’s top doctors, hospitals and research facilities are located in the United States. Eighteen of the last 25 winners of the Nobel Prize in Medicine either are U.S. citizens or work here. U.S. companies have developed half of all the major new medicines introduced worldwide over the past 20 years. And Americans played a key role in 80 percent of the most important medical advances of the past 30 years.

If you are diagnosed with a serious illness, the United States is the place you want to be. Tens of thousands of patients from around the world come to this country every year for treatment.

Critics of American health care often point out that other countries have higher life expectancies or lower infant mortality rates, but those two indicators are bad ways to measure the quality of a nation’s health-care system. In the United States, very low-birth-weight infants have a much greater chance of being brought to term with the latest medical technologies. Some of those low-birth-weight babies die soon after birth, which boosts our infant mortality rate, but in many other Western countries, those high-risk, low-birth-weight infants are not included when infant mortality is calculated.

Life expectancies are also affected by other factors like violent crime, poverty, obesity, tobacco, and drug use, and other issues unrelated to health care. When you compare the outcome for specific diseases like cancer or heart disease, the United States outperforms the rest of the world.

And one more myth:

The Claim: A government-run health-care system would expand access to care.

The Facts: The one common characteristic of all national health care systems is that they ration care. Sometimes they ration it by denying certain types of treatment altogether. More often, they ration indirectly, imposing cost constraints through budgets, waiting lines, or limited technology. One million Britons are waiting for admission to National Health Service hospitals at any given time, and shortages force the NHS to cancel as many as 100,000 operations each year. Roughly 90,000 New Zealanders are facing similar waits. In Sweden, the wait for heart surgery can be as long as 25 weeks. In Canada more than 800,000 patients are currently on waiting lists for medical procedures.

I wrote about US health care outcomes before in this post from the Hoover Institute at Stanford University.

Excerpt:

1. Americans have better survival rates than Europeans for common cancers. Breast cancer mortality is 52 percent higher in Germany than in the United States and 88 percent higher in the United Kingdom. Prostate cancer mortality is 604 percent higher in the United Kingdom and 457 percent higher in Norway. The mortality rate for colorectal cancer among British men and women is about 40 percent higher.2. Americans have lower cancer mortality rates than Canadians. Breast cancer mortality in Canada is 9 percent higher than in the United States, prostate cancer is 184 percent higher, and colon cancer among men is about 10 percent higher.

3. Americans have better access to treatment for chronic diseases than patients in other developed countries. Some 56 percent of Americans who could benefit from statin drugs, which reduce cholesterol and protect against heart disease, are taking them. By comparison, of those patients who could benefit from these drugs, only 36 percent of the Dutch, 29 percent of the Swiss, 26 percent of Germans, 23 percent of Britons, and 17 percent of Italians receive them.

4. Americans have better access to preventive cancer screening than Canadians. Take the proportion of the appropriate-age population groups who have received recommended tests for breast, cervical, prostate, and colon cancer:

  • Nine out of ten middle-aged American women (89 percent) have had a mammogram, compared to fewer than three-fourths of Canadians (72 percent).
  • Nearly all American women (96 percent) have had a Pap smear, compared to fewer than 90 percent of Canadians.
  • More than half of American men (54 percent) have had a prostatespecific antigen (PSA) test, compared to fewer than one in six Canadians (16 percent).
  • Nearly one-third of Americans (30 percent) have had a colonoscopy, compared with fewer than one in twenty Canadians (5 percent).

5. Lower-income Americans are in better health than comparable Canadians. Twice as many American seniors with below-median incomes self-report “excellent” health (11.7 percent) compared to Canadian seniors (5.8 percent). Conversely, white, young Canadian adults with below-median incomes are 20 percent more likely than lower-income Americans to describe their health as “fair or poor.”

6. Americans spend less time waiting for care than patients in Canada and the United Kingdom. Canadian and British patients wait about twice as long—sometimes more than a year—to see a specialist, have elective surgery such as hip replacements, or get radiation treatment for cancer. All told, 827,429 people are waiting for some type of procedure in Canada. In Britain, nearly 1.8 million people are waiting for a hospital admission or outpatient treatment.

7. People in countries with more government control of health care are highly dissatisfied and believe reform is needed. More than 70 percent of German, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, and British adults say their health system needs either “fundamental change” or “complete rebuilding.”

8. Americans are more satisfied with the care they receive than Canadians. When asked about their own health care instead of the “health care system,” more than half of Americans (51.3 percent) are very satisfied with their health care services, compared with only 41.5 percent of Canadians; a lower proportion of Americans are dissatisfied (6.8 percent) than Canadians (8.5 percent).

9. Americans have better access to important new technologies such as medical imaging than do patients in Canada or Britain. An overwhelming majority of leading American physicians identify computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as the most important medical innovations for improving patient care during the previous decade—even as economists and policy makers unfamiliar with actual medical practice decry these techniques as wasteful. The United States has thirty-four CT scanners per million Americans, compared to twelve in Canada and eight in Britain. The United States has almost twenty-seven MRI machines per million people compared to about six per million in Canada and Britain.

10. Americans are responsible for the vast majority of all health care innovations. The top five U.S. hospitals conduct more clinical trials than all the hospitals in any other developed country. Since the mid- 1970s, the Nobel Prize in medicine or physiology has gone to U.S. residents more often than recipients from all other countries combined. In only five of the past thirty-four years did a scientist living in the United States not win or share in the prize. Most important recent medical innovations were developed in the United States.

Dissenting commenters should be sure to link their assertions to reputable sourcesm, and quote specific passages where the source agrees with their assertion and rebuts some claim made by the Cato Institute or the Hoover Institute. Please don’t cite the New York Times or the United Nations.