The Wonkette Geopoliticker: US Will Soon Insure As Many Of Its Citizens As Does Rwanda

  the dopest healthcare on earth

kigali permanenteDonald Draper, er, Dick Whitman, um, John Boehner! loves to go on the tube with his drunk, tan face, and say that America has the “finest health care system in the world.” Do we really, though, Boehner? Hells naw. We’re not even Rwanda.

In Rwanda, 96% of people have health insurance. They have a per-capita income of $550 a year. And they have the most beautiful, gleaming, hospitals in all of central Africa.

Paul Kagame, Rwanda’s president, wants to turn his country into ‘the Singapore of Africa,’ and he’s off to a nice start. Before you can succeed economically, you must be able to stave off malaria. Like Rwanda, and umpteen other places, Singapore has universal health care for its citizens. And a well-earned rep for being business-friendly – go figure, Republicans.

serve me up some healthcare, bro!The benefits have been clear: In the last 10 years, since the implementation of their state-run healthcare system, the average Rwandan life expectancy has risen from 48 to 58. The mortality rate for children under 5 has been cut in half and the number of deaths by malaria has been cut by 2/3. They’ve built a comprehensive and modern healthcare system from scratch and have done so for much cheaper than their neighbors, by using design in place of technology when possible:

[L]ouvred windows set on high walls allow air to rise away from patients and be naturally ejected by huge, slow-moving fans on the ceiling. He said the design itself was able to change the air in Butaro’s wards more than 12 times per hour – a feat which normally requires multimillion-rand scrubbing machines.

 
Related video

See what happens when profit is taken out of the health care equation? Ingenuity, seen above, and efficiency, seen below:

While the new 300-bed Jabulani Hospital in Soweto, for example, is set to cost around R536-million, Butaro – at half the size – cost just R40-million.

We also lag behind Kyrgystan. Ugh. And Brazil (no shit), and China. Yeah, China’s found a way to insure its 1.3 billion. It’s an insured world out there, people. And we have the finest health care system in said world. [SouthAfricaSundayTimes]

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About the author

John Schoenkopf likes geography. johns@wonkette.com

View all articles by John Schoenkopf

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205 comments

    1. Negropolis

      You see their per capita income? Didn't matter if the country only had a million people; what they've done is impressive, damned impressive.

    2. sullivanst

      Please go look up the distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic measurements, and ponder how it might be relevant to the comparison of healthcare systems.

      Also, ponder that there basically isn't a national healthcare market in the United States, but rather 50 state markets.

      Finally I feel compelled to point out that most of the complexity in the administration of American health care funding has nothing to do with the size of the population, and everything to do with the incredibly fragmented implementation of healthcare funding (TRICARE vs. Medicare vs. 50 different implementations of Medicaid vs. literally tens of thousands of private insurers vs. cash payers vs. non-payers vs. uncompensated care pool). That fragmentation is absolutely not an inevitable result of the size of our population, as demonstrated by the fact that it doesn't exist in China or Brazil.

  1. johnnymeatworth

    Wow, soon we won't even have enough shots of rhythm and blues to counteract the latest strain of rockin' pneumonia.

        1. Chichikovovich

          Nobody got it? Really?

          Apparently the Andrews sisters don't post on Wonkette.

          1. Chichikovovich

            So that's what they're singing! "Bei mir bist du Schön."
            No joke, I've always thought it was "My dear Mr. Shane".
            Thanks for clearing that up for me.

      1. MittBorg

        60 kids died in Cambodia of an unknown (but probably airborne) disease; China has reported bird flu, not known yet if it's an epidemic; and Bolivia is reporting 11 dead from H1N1. So, yes. It might well be.

  2. PuckStopsHere

    How's health care on Somolia? I hear it's a paradise over there. We ought to send Boner there for his health care. For freedom, of course.

      1. BoatOfVelociraptors

        It's log! It's log! It's better than bad it's good!
        It's log! It's log! It's big, it's heavy it's wood!

      2. Negropolis

        I don't know. Iran and North Korea probably overtake us in delusion, but we're still in the Top 10. Here's for shooting for number 1!

        1. sewollef

          According to the World Health Organisation report it's not looking good for us here:

          1 France
          2 Italy
          3 San Marino
          4 Andorra
          5 Malta
          6 Singapore
          7 Spain
          8 Oman
          9 Austria
          10 Japan
          11 Norway
          12 Portugal
          13 Monaco
          14 Greece
          15 Iceland
          16 Luxembourg
          17 Netherlands
          18 United Kingdom
          19 Ireland
          20 Switzerland
          21 Belgium
          22 Colombia
          23 Sweden
          24 Cyprus
          25 Germany
          26 Saudi Arabia
          27 United Arab Emirates
          28 Israel
          29 Morocco
          30 Canada
          31 Finland
          32 Australia
          33 Chile
          34 Denmark
          35 Dominica
          36 Costa Rica
          37 United States of America
          38 Slovenia
          39 Cuba
          40 Brunei

          Back in 2000, Rwanda was in 172nd place. Clearly a lot's happened there in the last 10+ years.

          1. sewollef

            Oh right, it doesn't say does it.

            This ranking is a list of the best performing healthcare systems in the world [for the patients, not the insurance companies], based on 'the provision of health services (preventive and curative), family planning activities, nutrition activities, and emergency aid', includes the healthcare costs as a percentage of GDP [a separate table].

            These refer to World Health Organisation tables, here and World Bank statistics of Cost/GDP analysis here.

            Shockingly, as of 2010, the US spends almost 18% GDP for 'healthcare', whereas France spends 11.9% and Italy 9.5%.

    1. sewollef

      Last time I spent any time in hospital I'd smashed up my leg riding a motorbike. Here's how it went: ambulance came and picked me up, the nurse ripped apart my newly bought Levi 501s to get at my damaged leg, despite my screams of "no, no, no, not my new jeans!".

      Anyhoo, they kept me in overnight "for observation" after the doctors fixed my leg. Next day an administrator asked me how I was getting home, I said, "i dunno", so the hospital provided an ambulance to take me home.

      For the next four weeks, a home nurse came to my house twice a week, to check on progress and massage some life back into my leg.

      That's it. End of story. There were no mosquito nets either, but there were 20-something nurses ripping my pants off, so it was pretty good all round I think.

      Oh, by the way, shockingly, this wasn't in the United States.

  3. finallyhappy

    face lifts, rhinoplasty, tummy tucks, botox, fat-injected lips- bet they don't have that in Rwanda!

    1. flamingpdog

      I think they've pretty much wiped out the rhinos in Rwanda. And not all that many years ago, a whole bunch of the peoples, too.

  4. OneYieldRegular

    Oh, but you're talking about health care for people, not for corporations-are-people-too-my-friend, and there lies the difference.

  5. SorosBot

    But we have the most profitable health care system in the world, and that makes it the best, for the health care companies, who are the people that really matter.

        1. weejee

          If this logic holds, then perhaps soon we may see a post from Kitchen Schoenkopf, or Den Schoenkopf, or Bus Schoenkopf, or the real press-stooper Closet Schoenkopf.

      1. Dashboard Buddha

        mmmmmm…our editrix, a laptop, a hot, bubbly, sudsy bath, and wifi? Ummm, I'll be right back.

  6. flamingpdog

    He said the design itself was able to change the air in Butaro's wards more than 12 times per hour – a feat which normally requires multimillion- rand scrubbing machines.

    That's what we need in the US of A – multimillion Rand-scrubbing machines.

        1. MittBorg

          Hey, I was just pointing out that punctuation *completely* changes the meaning of that sentence, dude. I would like nothing better than rand-scrubbing machines.

          1. MittBorg

            (sighs contentedly) I knew I couldn't sneak that past you.

            Hope your weather is as beautiful as mine right now, CRE. After a week of cool, foggy mornings, the sun has finally come out.

            Someday I'll find out what you're doing with all them fish.

          2. C_R_Eature

            I did pretty shamelessly crib that off of a "Demotivational Poster" I saw somewhere online. It's still a good one and I enjoyed deploying it.

  7. MittBorg

    Rub it in, why don't you, guy. I just spent $500 visiting the doctor to get one lousy fucking prescription and get my teeth cleaned — and I HAVE insurance. Very expensive insurance.

          1. TribecaMike

            Taitz claims to be a certified Tai Kwon Do instructor and recommends a quick kick to the mouth followed by another to the appendix to solve any health problems, including a propensity for communism. Still, it's cheaper and a lot less painful to buy a tube of Crelm. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUOJzYtdTKI

    1. Isyaignert

      Most people who declare bankruptcy due to medical bills HAVE insurance. Sick isn't it (no pun intended)?

      1. MittBorg

        I remember seeing the figures, and I think it was around 60% of those who filed bankruptcy over medical bills. Revolting. A dirt-poor country like Rwanda can insure more of its citizens than the richest country in the world.

  8. spends2much

    What you have (had?) is exactly what Boner and Mittens want: the finest healthcare in the world for very rich people.
    Could the rest of you all just stop whining and die, already?

    1. Biel_ze_Bubba

      As does our taxpayer-funded crop insurance. Keeping Archer-Daniels-Midland safe from the risks of being in business? Absolutely a priority for Congress. Keeping citizens safe from the risks of being persons? Eh… not so much.

      (Corporations are not always people too, my friend.)

  9. BlueStateLibel

    I'm a gonna just say "Ashleigh, Ashleigh, Ashleigh" over and over, I can't hear you!

  10. BarackMyWorld

    We do have the best healthcare…for 10% of the population that are both insured and not getting actively screwed over by their insurance company.

    And I think that 10% number I just pulled out of my ass is probably overly optimistic.

    1. Dr. Nick Riviera

      I once had a professor tell me that if too many people could afford to go to the doctor, people wouldn't get good care. I imagine this is the type of person that refused to row the half empty lifeboats back to save the survivors after Titanic went down.

      1. TribecaMike

        Très Malthusian! I had an economics professor who told me that he got into that profession because he was lousy at math.

    2. fuflans

      hahahaha bitches! i have my private sector gold plated insurance again!! obamacare socielzmmmz!!

      best. healthcare. evah!

      usa! usa!!

    3. not that Radio

      Hasn't it always been the case that the top N% of whatever human population has a life expectancy of at least 85, while the proles' life expectancy has crept from 25 to 75 in only 30 centuries? How old was Plato? How old was John Adams? Humans being humans.

  11. Doktor Zoom

    Yeah, but I bet that Rwanda can't hope to match our rate of bankruptcies due to health care costs!

    See also TR Reid's The Healing of America

    "My global quest demonstrated that America’s approach to health care is unique in the world for a good reason: No other country would dream of doing things the way we do."

    1. sewollef

      "No other country would dream of doing things the way we do"

      Clearly, no other country is as fucking stupid as this one.

  12. TribecaMike

    Bit o' trivia: Kyrgyzstan's airlines are prohibited from flying in European Union airspace due to sub-par safety standards. But hey, they have socialized medicine!

  13. SayItWithWookies

    Sure Rwanda has universal healthcare — and you know what else they have? A reputation for genocide. Put two and two together sheeple!

    1. justincasetoo

      Genocide! You mean like what we did to the native Americans a couple of hundred years ago!

      Or is Rwandan genocide worse than visiting slavery on black people for four hundred years, which is what we did.

      Yet we in the US never hesitate to call ourselves great.

      Every country has nastiness in its history. Rwanda has set up a good health care system (showing once more that it can be done). That fact stands on is own. That there was genocide in that region neither adds to nor detracts from that fact.

      To me you seem to be just another white (mottled pink) American whose whole being needs to discredit anything done by any people who are not!!!!

  14. C_R_Eature

    WOOOOO AMERUCAH USA!! USA!! USA!! WE'RE NUMBER … Number….

    uh…what number are we again?

      1. C_R_Eature

        "We're Number One in Tanks, We're Number One in Planes, We're Number One in War, We're Number Two in Brains"(cut to Joe "YouLie" Wilson).

        This one's a Keeper. Thanks

  15. Isyaignert

    I had heard that since so many men were killed in the war in Rwanda, the women have largely taken over running the country (with the exception of the presidency) and everything has improved dramatically. There are far fewer greedy @sshole women than there are men in the world. I wish they ran everything. We'd have healthcare, childcare, fairness in the workplace, and every other thing humans need to survive.

    1. Doktor Zoom

      Yeah, but every TV channel would look like Lifetime. Is that a price we're willing to pay?

      1. TribecaMike

        I for one wouldn't want to see Morgan Fairchild in the docket of the World Court. Valerie Bertinelli on the other hand…

    2. Designer_Radio

      I've been saying this for years. Seriously, WHY aren't they running more shit? Is it because they run more households? (my wife certainly does – I couldn't do what she does). Hate to be gender-whatever-chauvinist-something-bad-about-women-and-kitchens…., but that's the only theory I got so far: women aren't running the nations because if they didn't run the goddamn household, not even that would get done.

      1. BigSkullF*ckingDog

        I think that women don't run things because, for the most part, they aren't power grasping assholes who absolutely HAVE to be in charge or they can't sleep at night. Not that all men are like that, but the vast majority of power grasping assholes happen to be men.

        1. Designer_Radio

          I know, but I think it just has to get to the point where people in charge look at the candidates for a job and see a male and a female and say, "hmms, obvs gonna pick the lady cuz I don't need this prick fucking everything up…" Then it's not a power-hungry ladder climber, but a recognition of inherent qualities. I realize I'm doing the Reverse Sexism thing, but I just would like to see a nation where power positions are at least representative of the amount of the sexes. I think this would dramatically change things for the better.

          BTW, thanks for not giving me the usual answer, which is, "Yeah, well, Michele Bachmann, case in point, check mate, QED, et al, women are awful."

          1. Isyaignert

            Women are awesome; that's why so many men feel the need to quash them – they're so scared of not being in control of everything.

            They're just like the peanut dicks around the world who feel the need to drape their women in torrid heat and sequster them from others. Talk about 'effin pussies – these guys are the poster children!

    3. Butch_Wagstaff

      But they are way too sensitive! And they have that once-a-month problem that makes them a bitch one second and a little cry-baby the next. If they're single, they don't know what to think because they need a boyfriend or husband to tell them what to think.

      1. Isyaignert

        I hope you are being snarky, because if you're not, I will hunt you down and teach you some manners.

    4. TribecaMike

      I'm all for women power, but I wouldn't trust those Catholic nuns who ordered the deaths of thousands as far as I can throw them in a ditch.

    5. IndianaKevin

      And we could turn our attention to other important matters: Fishing and beer-drinking!

  16. finallyhappy

    In this area(DC metro) there are concierge medicine programs- . You pay quite a bit (no insurance) for many tests(CRTs/MRIs) and they claim they catch many things early and you will live longer-and they do a lot of follow-up for a lot of money. Or at least this is what the commercials say-I wonder how many dc politicos use this kind of healthcare

  17. arihaya

    We also lag behind Kyrgystan.

    yes, yes, but what about compared to Uz-beki-beki-beki-stan ?

  18. Ayn Rand Paul Tard

    Yeah, but, it's only because they have a black (African-African?) President. If he was a white guy I'm sure the Rwandan Boehner equivalent would be cock-blocking his every move. Actually even that's probably not true. We are so fucked with our fourth world politics and mentality.

    1. Isyaignert

      "…fourth world politics and mentality…." Welcome to the choir! Lettuce prey.

  19. sharethegrief

    Our life expectancy is longer but by my observation, we'll spend the last 10 years of it worrying that someone will take our car keys away.

    1. Ducksworthy

      Fortunately, due to the wisdom of our betters in the GOP, US life expectancy is falling further and further behind that of the developed world. I think we're not something like 46th. That's true freedom.

    1. TribecaMike

      Not if you live in an assisted living home in Benson, and they've got it good.

    1. TribecaMike

      Meanwhile, in Mali over the past couple of weeks, extremist Muslim rebels have destroyed at least six of Timbuktu's beautiful 15th century mosques and shrines. No word yet if local Christians give a damn.

      1. not that Radio

        Are you suggesting that hate/violence is not correlated with any particular religion, but with religious extremism, in general?

    2. C_R_Eature

      I know of a few Sikhs, locally, that got really beaten up after 9/11 because they were a) wearing turbans and b) Brown.

      I know, human nature, ugliness, in extremis and all that but fuck – we tell ourselves all the time that we should be better than that.

      Well, most of us tell ourselves that.

      1. emmelemm

        It's like a corollary of Dunning-Krueger: Everybody thinks they're better than that, but really, they're not.

        1. C_R_Eature

          The " 2012 Undesirable Porcine Radio Personality Exclusion Act" of Costa Rica?

          That's exactly what I'd do.

          1. flamingpdog

            The Deny, Interdict, (&) Avert Racist Radio Huckster Entry Act of 2012.

            (That's how the clever minds in teh US Congress* do it.)

            *Congress = antonym of Progress.

  20. Strepsi

    I just read that even here in Canada, with the exact same lifestyle as the U.S., thanks to universal health care we live 3 years longer than people in the U.S…. 81 years to your 78.

    If I email Aaron Sorkin this figure maybe he'll Newsroom it!

  21. TribecaMike

    Health care reform & Republicans = Obama sparkle dragons. It's quite simple really.

  22. shortsandpants

    I don't want a longer life expectancy if it means another freakin' election cycle.

  23. Dashboard Buddha

    I'm gonna play devil's advocate for a moment. First off, I think Rwanda's success is totally FUCKING AWESOME. However, that being said, comparing it to western medicine, no matter how flawed, can be problematic. For instance, I am a fat dude. Call me Rwanda. I enter into a weight loss competition with a skinny dude. Call him western medicine. If I even think hard, I'm going to lose weight. Seriously (real example). I have changed nothing about my eating and drinking habits. The only thing that has changed is that I now have to walk 1/4 of a mile to the ferry landing to meet my woman when she gets off of work. That's a 1/2 mile/day. Now, I have no ounces/pounds figures to give you, but for the first time in a long time, my woman can now touch hands when she hugs me. She couldn't before. If I had been in competition (and I know the overriding concept is not a healthcare competition.) with the skinny dude, he would need a friggin' personal trainer to lose the equivalent amount of weight. He'd need some drill instructor/personal trainer dude yelling, "GIVE ME TWENTY YOU FILTHY MAGGOT", whereas I would need…"wow, I want to see my lady sooner rather than later so I think I'll meet her at the boat". It's hardly fair, but I would win every time…until I reached a certain point, of course. Then it would be a fair fight.

    Rwanda has made great strides because of…mosquito netting? Rwanda is totally the fat dude, medically speaking.

    On the flip side, there are too many corporate/rich fuck pieces of rich fucking pieces of shit that would benefit by the US becoming a third world country that I vote we stop this trend right.fucking.now before we become the nation all other nations of the world point to and say, at least we're not like them. Goddammit…we're Americans. We put humans on the moon, we sent nearly sentient robots to fucking Mars. There.is.no.excuse.to.not.have.universal.healthcare!

      1. Dashboard Buddha

        MG? Given my state of current under employment, that means more to me than you could imagine.

        1. Monsieur_Grumpe

          Aw shucks.
          If I were in a position to hire people I'd give you a job just on your Wonkette comments.Good luck my friend.

  24. ttommyunger

    The good news is; with Obamacare, the Camel's nose is in the tent. This is the beginning of the end for the Insurance Company's ride. We are on the road to providing healthcare to our citizens, not insurance. No snark.

    1. James Michael Curley

      It is also important that we, who are concerned about EVERYone getting effective health care, re-frame the debate as one about Health Care Insurance Reform: not Health Care Reform.

      1. ttommyunger

        I see ACA evolving to replace insurance with direct delivery of services, al la Medicare-in time-hopefully. A Country as rich as we are can afford to self-insure.

        1. James Michael Curley

          NJ has had “no fault’ personal injury protection auto insurance for almost 40 years. Thirty years ago they made it mandatory despite the complaints by a lot who are complaining about required ACA now. In 1982 I paid almost $500 a year to cover only myself and one vehicle for $15,000 in personal injury coverage. Now I am in a higher premium bracket having been afflicted with the olds, cover myself and two others for two vehicles (one a sports car) and $100,000 but pay $181 a year. This is because I no longer have to pay medical bills for those who do not have coverage.

  25. Negropolis

    Kind of off topic, but given the genocide and the AIDS epidemic, Rwanada has recovered better than anyon could have even imagined in such a short time. Now, their president and his party really needs to be reigned in, because it's getting awfully autocratic, there, again, but social gains have been made that have been nothing short of amazing. This is not even to mention that this has to be one of the most visually stunning nations in the world. It's like a piece of the Garden of Eden in every valley.

  26. TribecaMike

    In my neighborhood, the loft in the photo would go for at least $15 million. And that fan is to die for.

  27. fartknocker

    Just to so you know, after looking at the proposed National JPEG of fucking Ronald Raygun riding a dinosaur shooting people in Grenada earlier today, the photo by our globe trotting Wonketter has a very distinct, U.S. feature.

    Everyone look at the large fan in the middle of the room.

    The fan was engineered and manufactured in Lexington, KY by a company called Delta T Corporation but is known and marketed as Big Ass Fan (go ahead, google it ). This is a high volume, low speed fan. It is extremely energy efficient, reliable and moves lots of air at very low velocities. In a health care environment without conventional heating and air conditioning systems, that was a ingenious move. Low air velocities at high volume is a major factor in controlling airborne pathogens.

    Well fucking la-de-da. I find it refreshing that Rowanda built a truly energy efficient health care building using off-the-shelf technology at a economical price. When have you seen the goat fucking bloviating colostomy bags in the House or Senate try to make something for the citizens that doesn't fucking kill people or start wars? Cool report John.

    Fartknocker

  28. Joe

    So we can celebrate that Rwanda has made improvements from almost total collapse of society 18 years ago. But a reality check is that even our free clinic system is light years ahead of the 'free' healthcare system in Rwanda. There is 2 doctors to every 100,000 people.

  29. Terry

    I'm glad Rwanda is making such great progress in health care. I remain, however, somewhat skeptical that all Rwandans receive the quality of care shown to the reporters.

    1. C_R_Eature

      Naw, in the Pine Barrens, along with all of the old Toxic Waste drums. Guido and Razoo, "Waste Management Specialists", will take care of it for you.

      It's a genuine shame to waste all those perfectly good fetuses when there's fetusajita's going empty.

  30. C_R_Eature

    All right – which one of you Preverts just called CSPAN's Washington Journal to say that Mitt Romney looks mighty good in blue jeans and He doesn't swing that way but….

    David Harsanyi, syndicated mouthpiece and Oligarch apologist for the execrable Human Events rag is on to give us Received Wisdom about the presidential campaign and the economy. Apparently all we need to do is implement True Conservative Economic Theory, even though we did it before and it was a catastrophic failure, we didn't do it right/long enough/hard enough. And so it goes.

    Oh, if you have an opinion for Mr. Harsanyi :
    C-SPAN's Call-In Program:
    Call-In Numbers:

    Democrats: (202) 737-0001
    Republicans: (202) 737-0002

    Independents: (202) 628-0205

    Outside U.S.: (202) 628-0184

    Email: journal@c-span.org

    Twitter: http://twitter.com/cspanwj

    1. Designer_Radio

      Sounds like something I would do — my penchant for mom jeans knows no bounds — but the wife had the workout video going until just now. I had to get my morning outrage from racist friend-of-friends on Facebook instead of a Human Events Staff Plutocrat Fellator. I hope some callers got some good points in? I watched Chris Hayes yesterday and was disappointed in his failure to smackdown the idiots who repeatedly called in with epithets about Commienizms and Soshuhlizts. Must have been too late for the "Up" star – interrupted his nap time or something.

      1. C_R_Eature

        Most of the calls were pushbacks, even from Republicans. Gratifying.This guy's still pedaling the "Outsourcing is good for America", "Government shouldn't be involved in regulating behavior or healthcare" pure theoretical Libertarian Anarcho-Capitalist theory that goes over oh-so-well with middle class economically stressed and unemployed viewers. Also huxtering a book ('course) called "Nanny State, (something something bad something americuh)" that's destined for Bulk Purchase and giveaways at CPAC.
        Wanker.

  31. Pat_Pending

    Looking forward to colonial Africa going on safari to deepest darkest Nebraska to enslave the fatties as a new energy source…

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