The U.S. ranks 37th in the world for health care. - Paul Hipp on Wednesday in a YouTube video
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The ruling: MOSTLY TRUE
With biting sarcasm, singer Paul Hipp says the United States should be proud of its global ranking on health care.
We're No. 37
We're the U.S.A.
We're No. 37
And we're so proud to say
We got old people crying at the pharmacy
Pay your deductible
This ain't the land of the f-f-f-free Grandma
He refers to the World Health Organization's ranking of the United States as the 37th best health care system in the world, of 191 countries. The anthem to health care reform even shows its sources: Hipp includes a shot of himself looking at WHO's report.
The ranking is not new. WHO, an arm of the United Nations, published the international comparison in its World Health Report 2000, and it hasn't been updated.
Five factors went into WHO's calculation, which the organization combined into two rankings. One is the basic weighted average of the five factors. The other takes that number and adjusts it for how well a country's health system was doing compared with how well WHO's experts believed it should be doing based on education level and economic resources.
Using the second of the two ratings - overall performance - the United States does indeed rank 37th. But using the first factor - overall attainment - the United States does better, finishing 15th. WHO considers overall performance the more important ranking.
Of course, any ranking is subject to dispute. In his 2009 book, The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper and Fairer Health Care, journalist T.R. Reid finds value in the WHO's study but acknowledges it is "all but impossible to design a single rating scale that would accommodate countries ranging from Monaco (population, 33,000; per capita income, $30,000 per year) to Nigeria (population 101 million; per capita income, $310 per year)."
So while Hipp is right that the U.S. ranked 37th in the most widely known barometer in the WHO study, it ranked 15th by another WHO ranking. Still, this is a rock song. We find Hipp's claim to be Mostly True.
- The complete ruling is at PolitiFact.com.
To see Paul Hipp's music video, go to PolitiFact.com.