[August 27, 2007 @ 3:42 pm] David Catron

It is common for advocates of government-run health care to quote WHO statistics in order to document the alleged inferiority of American health care. A perennial favorite purports to show that the U.S. barely edges out Cuba in some categories.

I have pointed out before that the WHO makes no attempt to verify the health care statistics it receives. Well, here’s an op-ed by a Cuban physician that should make it abundantly clear why government apparatchiks should not be taken at their word: 

I witnessed how medical directors, high-ranking administrators and heads of departments manipulated statistics using deceptive formulas to adjust data in order to reach goals imposed by “El Commandante” Fidel Castro. 

This kind of statistical subterfuge should come as no surprise to students of history. In the Soviet Union, the statistics reported to the central authorities were right on target even as the wheels were coming off the system.

It is in the nature of centrally-controlled bureaucracies, even under regimes considerably less oppressive than those of Cuba and Russia, to produce bogus statistics. All of the incentives push in that direction.

It is not, however, incumbent upon us to accept them like credulous children. Nor should we allow bogus stats to be used as a justification for imposing government-run health care on the United States.

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