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A False Appeal to Woman’s Fears (Fact Check) Republican-leaning group claims health care legislation could lead to 300,000 deaths from breast cancer, but uses old statistics, faulty logic and false insinuations. September 4, 2009

Joseph E. Bowker, CMSgt, USAF (Ret) 2009/09/04 21:52:04
Tell the Republicans to stop scaring women & seniors with lies
Fact Check according to Fox News is a left wing Company.  Who can trust them?
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Summary
A conservative group with Republican ties called the Independent Women’s Forum is airing an ad that says “300,000 American women with breast cancer might have died” if our health care were “government run” like England’s, citing the American Cancer Society as a source for the figure. In fact, a spokesman for the cancer society’s advocacy arm says that figure is “not reliable” and adds: “[I]t’s not one that we have ever cited; it’s not one that we would ever cite.” Furthermore, an epidemiologist with the cancer society told us that the way this figure was calculated was “really faulty.”

In addition:

The ad uses outdated survival rate statistics. More recent numbers show England’s survival rate to be closing the gap with that of the United States.
Experts with the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute told us that mortality rates provide a much more accurate comparison. And the mortality rates for breast cancer for the two countries are similar.
And of course, nothing like England’s system is being considered currently by either house of Congress anyway, as we’ve often pointed out. We judge this ad’s main insinuation to be a false appeal to women’s fears.
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  • Gramma Lil 2009/09/05 19:13:12
    Tell the Republicans to stop scaring women & seniors with lies
    Gramma Lil
    +2
    I'm so sick of the Repugnicans these days. It's nothing but lies, lies, lies and more lies. They can't win with the truth so this is all they have left to resort to. It is so sad!

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  • Dave 2010/01/29 01:31:01
    Fact Check according to Fox News is a left wing Company. Who can trust them?
    Dave
    +1
    Here's what the BBC says about this (circa 2008):
    http://www.webcitation.org/5k...

    Synopsis: The 5 year death rate from breast cancer in the UK is 30.3%. The 5 year death rate from breast cancer in the USA is 16.1% (the lowest in the world).

    So, if the USA had the UK's system of medical care, the number of deaths in the USA from breast cancer would presumably be about 1.9x the current number. Since about 40,000 Americans die from breast cancer each year, that would mean an additional 36,000 deaths from breast cancer per year.

    That means it would take about 8.3 years for 300,000 extra deaths to occur if the USA had the UK's healthcare system. Unfortunately, the IWF ad apparently doesn't mention how long it would take for the 300,000 deaths to accumulate, which makes their "300,000" figure essentially meaningless. (They supposedly got it from a calculation based on the current number of breast cancer survivors, but when I duplicated their calculation, the number I got was 355,000 rather than 300,000.)

    Now, a few caveats are in order:

    1) I'm assuming that the BBC's numbers are correct. They are probably close, but they are surely not exact. FactCheck.org, which leans Left, complains that they average data for too long of a period of time.

    2) This calculation accepts...





























    Here's what the BBC says about this (circa 2008):
    http://www.webcitation.org/5k...

    Synopsis: The 5 year death rate from breast cancer in the UK is 30.3%. The 5 year death rate from breast cancer in the USA is 16.1% (the lowest in the world).

    So, if the USA had the UK's system of medical care, the number of deaths in the USA from breast cancer would presumably be about 1.9x the current number. Since about 40,000 Americans die from breast cancer each year, that would mean an additional 36,000 deaths from breast cancer per year.

    That means it would take about 8.3 years for 300,000 extra deaths to occur if the USA had the UK's healthcare system. Unfortunately, the IWF ad apparently doesn't mention how long it would take for the 300,000 deaths to accumulate, which makes their "300,000" figure essentially meaningless. (They supposedly got it from a calculation based on the current number of breast cancer survivors, but when I duplicated their calculation, the number I got was 355,000 rather than 300,000.)

    Now, a few caveats are in order:

    1) I'm assuming that the BBC's numbers are correct. They are probably close, but they are surely not exact. FactCheck.org, which leans Left, complains that they average data for too long of a period of time.

    2) This calculation accepts that 5 year survival/death rates are a good approximation for overall survival/death rates. Since some cancer patients succumb to their disease after more than five years, that is not really an accurate assumption. (More on this below.)

    3) I'm assuming that the entire difference in breast cancer survival/death rates between the USA and the UK is due to the differences in health care. Though that is probably the main reason, there may be other factors at work, as well.

    None of those caveats change the main conclusion, which is that thousands of additional American women would die of breast cancer if the USA had the UK's healthcare system. However, they do affect the number of deaths that should be expected.

    Caveat #2 is especially interesting. FactCheck.org objects to comparing 5 year survival rates, preferring to instead compare total mortality rates. That comparison would lead to a conclusion that switching to the UK's healthcare system would result in only 2,250 additional American women dying per year from breast cancer. At that rate, it would take 133 years to reach the IWF's claimed 300,000 deaths!

    However, the such a methodology makes the mistake of equating a death after 10 years with a death after 1 year. There is real value in extending the lives of cancer patients, even if they eventually die from their disease. Using FactCheck's methodology equates the two. Obviously, a healthcare system which results in nearly twice as many women dying before 5 years have elapsed is a heavy cost, even if most of the "extra" 5 year survivors eventually relapse and die.

    So, the "300,000" figure used by the IWF is arguable, but their general conclusion is not.

    Now, factcheck.org has other quibbles, too, but they're weak. For instance, they object that the figures reported in 2008 were based on out of date statistics. They say, "Those [UK breast cancer patients] diagnosed in 2001-2003 had an 80.3 percent [5 year survival] rate, [but in the USA] for those diagnosed in 2001, the five-year survival rate was 89.8." In other words, the 5 year death rate was 19.7% in the UK and 10.2% in the USA. But that still makes the UK's 5-year breast cancer death rate 1.9 times that of the USA.

    However, there is a bigger problem with the IWF's ad: it addresses only one kind of cancer. Breast cancer is not the only form of cancer which has very different survival rates in the UK and the USA. The disparity for prostate cancer is even larger (though not by as much as it would seem from the BBC report; see http://tinyurl.com/cancerbbc )

    In other words, by focusing only on breast cancer, the IWF understates the scope of the problem caused by government-controlled healthcare.

    FactCheck.org further objects that the USA is not considering adopting the UK's healthcare system, which is true. However, methinks they object too loudly. The proposals currently being considered by Congress would adopt the key features of UK healthcare which are responsible for lowering cancer survival rates by limiting spending on medical care.

    Now, of course, they don't call it "rationing," but that's what it is. It is the national government imposing cost controls through oversight of healthcare providers, to limit expenditures. Cost containment is the primary purpose of the healthcare reform bills, and that is the only significant method of cost containment to be found in the bills.

    Here's what the Senate-passed healthcare bill (H.R.3590) says:

    "Beginning on January 1, 2015, a qualified health plan may contract with… (B) a health care provider only if such provider implements such mechanisms to improve health care quality as the Secretary [of HHS] may by regulation require."

    One person, appointed by the President, will have complete control over American medicine. All doctors, clinics & labs that want to be paid for anything through insurance will have to submit to government regulatory control of their entire businesses, including regulation of services which are not paid for by insurance.

    The purpose of that dictatorial control is to enable the federal government to impose cost controls, by limiting the purchase of expensive technology, and imposing cost-effectiveness tests and treatment standards, to ration care and contain costs. The result of that rationing will be poorer cancer survival rates.

    Dave
    (more)
  • 1019803 2009/09/06 05:52:04
    Tell the Republicans to stop scaring women & seniors with lies
    1019803
    +1
    Lies, fear mongering, and racism the 3 pillars of the GOP.

    < GOP= GREED OVER PEOPLE >
  • riceroni ~ POTC**FUKU2** 2009/09/06 02:15:09 (edited)
  • broken hearted survivor 2009/09/05 21:27:48
    Tell the Republicans to stop scaring women & seniors with lies
    broken hearted survivor
    +1
    Joseph, you always work tirelessly to provide us with the truth, Thanks My Friend! Keep up the good work!
  • Gramma Lil 2009/09/05 19:13:12
    Tell the Republicans to stop scaring women & seniors with lies
    Gramma Lil
    +2
    I'm so sick of the Repugnicans these days. It's nothing but lies, lies, lies and more lies. They can't win with the truth so this is all they have left to resort to. It is so sad!
  • ὤTṻnde΄ӂ 2009/09/04 23:22:18
    Tell the Republicans to stop scaring women & seniors with lies
    ὤTṻnde΄ӂ
    +2
    Just one more plank in the Republican party. It is ingrained in the GOP--we will use fear-mongering to get our party support. So far polls show that the GOP has about a 30% chance of "taking the Congress in 2010.
  • Joseph E. Bowker, CMSgt, US... 2009/09/04 22:01:54
    Fact Check according to Fox News is a left wing Company. Who can trust them?
    Joseph E. Bowker, CMSgt, USAF (Ret)
    +2
    If they had anything to say that was real, and true, they wouldn't have to lie to get people to vote their way. It is hard to win an argument when you are a for profit (billions for the Insurance Industry instead of Health Care.) against a system where the needed funds will be used to promote Health Care.
  • Waiting 2009/09/04 21:54:32
    Tell the Republicans to stop scaring women & seniors with lies
    Waiting
    +1
    Where are these facts from. I would assume more would be saved because people would have checks done more frequently and catch it earlier.
  • Joseph ... Waiting 2009/09/04 21:59:16
    Joseph E. Bowker, CMSgt, USAF (Ret)
    +2
    sorry, you misunderstood. This is a conservative womans group saying that National Health Care would expand Breast Cancer for women, but Fact Check has proven their information is wrong. In other words, they are lying about their facts. they have no good facts, because the best thing for EVERYONE in this country is take the Profits out of Insurnace and make it a Public Plan to get all the dollars to count for Health Care, and not billions of Profit for the Industry.
  • Waiting Joseph ... 2009/09/04 22:01:43
    Waiting
    +1
    Oh ok. Well I agree with what you just said.

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