American health care is often said to be the best in the world. American liberals, however, are generally convinced that American health care is considerably worse than average. I’ve seen a few bloggers cite these new Pew results as indicating that the American people agree with liberals about this. It’s definitely true that relatively few people see U.S. healthcare as the best in the world. But I think Pew presented their data in an odd way, creating a misleading two-choice breakdown between “above average” and “average or below.” Check out a three-way split:
In all income cohorts the number of people who perceive American health care as above average exceeds the number who view it as below average. This applies even in the low income brackets where it’s clearly false. And politicians are much more interested in the views of their wealthy constituents than of their poor ones. Rich people contribute to campaigns, while poor people tend to vote at low levels and are often immigrants or ex-felons who aren’t even allowed to vote.