As chairman of the House Republican Health Care Solutions Group, Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Springfield, knows a thing or two about health care. But some of what he knows just isn’t true.
“I’m 59,” Mr. Blunt said last week during a meeting with Post-Dispatch reporters and editors. “In either Canada or Great Britain, if I broke my hip, I couldn’t get it replaced.”
We fact-checked that. At least 63 percent of hip replacements performed in Canada last year and two-thirds of those done in England were on patients age 65 or older. More than 1,200 in Canada were done on people older than 85....
But he’s not the only Republican leader who has his facts wrong about British and Canadian health care. And some of his colleagues are a bit less contrite.
Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, recently claimed that in England, Sen. Ted Kennedy would have been denied treatment for his brain cancer.
The English National Health Service says that’s not true. The head of a related health agency complained about “untrue or misinformed” comments. And the president of the British Medical Association decried such “jaw-droppingly untruthful attacks.”
It shouldn’t matter. None of the health reform plans being considered by Congress would create an English- or Canadian-style health system here. But opponents of reform sometimes are careless with the facts about U.S. health care, too.
For example, Mr. Blunt was asked how long an uninsured American would wait for a hip replacement.
“If they go to the emergency room, I think they can get that done,” he said. Emergency rooms don’t do hip replacements, which require both hospital care and weeks of rehabilitation. They do emergency surgery, necessary to save a life.