Use access key #2 to skip to page content.

Whereminow Slipped the BS Right Past Me!



August 22, 2009 – Comments (16)

Congratulations to David in Qatar, and Yuri Maltsev at Mises.

In the paper explaining why Americans should be afraid of any move toward the dreaded, freedom stealing, Socialist Healthcare, 'What Soviet Medicine Teaches Us' which Yuri Maltsev authored and David in Qatar shared with us, I missed the most outrageous mis-representation of facts on my first reading.

Fortunately I read it again.

The mis-representation I am talking about is not the comparison of Soviet style healthcare to the USA style, without comparing it to any "Small Government" model, which the Russians easily outperform. That is just an inadequate number of comparison countries.

It is not overlooking that Soviet style healthcare compares unfavorably to Democratically elected governments, but that is a problem with a lack of influence by the "people" on their Government. In the USA we do not have that problem yet. When the "small gov't" Conservative Republicans stunk the joint up we were able to elect them into a minority. It is ok to demand that Government succeed in delivering quality healthcare for all of us based upon working models.

The most outrageous misrepresentation of facts came in the fourth paragraph and is the last thing everyone will read before they click on the "entire article" link. After putting us into a picture of a backwards hopeless filthy hospital system with these probably innacurate words;

The system had many decades to work, but widespread apathy and low quality of work paralyzed the healthcare system. In the depths of the socialist experiment, healthcare institutions in Russia were at least a hundred years behind the average US level. Moreover, the filth, odors, cats roaming the halls, drunken medical personnel, and absence of soap and cleaning supplies added to an overall impression of hopelessness and frustration that paralyzed the system.

Yuri Malstev then takes us from the place most of us associate with needles to another "fact" about needles;

According to official Russian estimates, 78 percent of all AIDS victims in Russia contracted the virus through dirty needles or HIV-tainted blood in the state-run hospitals.

So what are the odds that those dirty needles were in a hospital, or in the hands of drug users just like in the USA. Wikipedia describes it like this;

The actual number of people living with HIV in Russia is estimated to be about 940,000.[1] In 2007, 83% of HIV infections in Russia were registered among injecting drug users, 6% among sex workers, and 5% among prisoners.

The wiki information matches the expectation for the spread of AIDS in Russia offered by Doctors without Borders in this 2000 BBC article.

The BBC article also points out that AIDS exploded in Russia in 2000. It would be likely that Russia is ten years behind the USA in treating AIDS because it exploded here 15 years sooner.

So what are we supposed to conclude from reading this sentence presented in the surrounding context?

According to official Russian estimates, 78 percent of all AIDS victims in Russia contracted the virus through dirty needles or HIV-tainted blood in the state-run hospitals.

Are we supposed to connect the Russian aids epidemic with dirty hospitals and dirty hospital needles?

According to official Russian estimates, 78 percent of all AIDS victims in Russia contracted the virus through dirty needles...              ... in the state-run hospitals.

According to official Russian estimates, 78 percent of all AIDS victims in Russia contracted the virus through dirty needles and HIV-tainted blood in the state-run hospitals.

Should we ask what percentage of Russian AIDS cases are from HIV tainted blood alone? According to the wiki link they did not make the top three causes or enough to note in the statistics as a seperate source.

I conclude that there is no connection between AIDS from dirty needle use among drug users and the condition of Soviet Healthcare and that this article is just a load of crap and could not find a legitimate failing of the Soviet Health system to use as an example.

I conclude that there is no reason to believe that there is a high percentage connection between HIV tainted blood and AIDS  established in Yuri Maltsev's article. I am sure that there are some cases of AIDS in Russia due to HIV tainted blood. No healthcare system avoided it enitrely.

I conclude that if you really believed that a move to "free market" healthcare and away from "socialist" healthcare was good for America, you would not have to misrepresent the facts to convince us.

David, Yuri, Fleabagger, Pencils? I look forward to your replies.

Please include information concerning  the percentage of needle contracted aids cases among drug users vs the percentage of needle contracted aids case in hospitals if you dispute mine. Also please discuss the percentage of AIDS cases due to HIV tainted blood transfusions in Russia as compared to results in the USA, Germany, Denmark, and whatever small gov't country you choose.

In the meantime I will consider that everything eminating from the Mises institute is a load of crap and that Americans would be better served ignoring the BS coming from the "right" of American politics and moving this discussion to deciding between the fact based solutions offered by the "left" and the "extreme left".



16 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On August 22, 2009 at 10:20 AM, starbucks4ever (78.34) wrote:

I think Maltsev was referring to the earlier period, say, 1985-1987, rather than today. At that time, as you understand, all needles were reusable. When the problem first appeared, hospitals were told to switch to disposable needles, but due to red tape, shortage of needles, and lack of discipline (don't forget, the country was already falling apart) it took another 2-3 years to enforce compliance. So in, say, 1985, it would well be that there was a total of 100 cases, 78 of which happened in state-run hospitals.

Report this comment
#2) On August 22, 2009 at 10:23 AM, devoish (62.74) wrote:

After seventy years of socialism, 57 percent of all Russian hospitals did not have running hot water, and 36 percent of hospitals located in rural areas of Russia did not have water or sewage at all

I am also curious, exactly what year does that stat come from? Are we talking 70 years after the Russian Revolution in 1917 making 70 years later 1987? Or is it 70 years after the Decembrist Revolt in 1825 making 70 years later 1895?

Please offer a link to your sources, and describe what is meant by "hospitals".

Report this comment
#3) On August 22, 2009 at 10:28 AM, devoish (62.74) wrote:


Malstev said "78% of cases in Russia" were caused by dirty needles, not 78% of cases caused by dirty needles in Russian hospitals.

Every source I can find other than Maltsov says the needle problem was among drug users, outside, not inside the hospitals.


Report this comment
#4) On August 22, 2009 at 10:30 AM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

LOL. if you're going to call me out, is the best you can do to cite a "maybe only somewhat" accurate statement in the fourth paragraph of a ten paragraph essay from a guy I linked to?

That's really pathetic. 

David in Qatar

Report this comment
#5) On August 22, 2009 at 10:33 AM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

And if you have a problem with Maltsev's writing,

You can discuss the article with Yuri here.

Yuri Maltsev
Dear Bloggers!

thank you for your comments - really appreciated!
I am also blessed with over a hundred e-mails. I wish I could answer everyone /and I'll try to/, but I would like to address the most general comments and observations.

I agree that there are serious cultural differences between countries: it took Russia almost 80 years to destroy the work ethics, trust and responsibility and almost everything else was destroyed afterwards. Even many things which supposedly could not be destroyed were destroyed as well. Good example - the Aral Sea /please Google it - you would be amazed!/.

With us here - it depends on the willingness of many to sell our freedoms for various handouts and bailouts. With this willingness growing so fast there would be not much left to sell very soon.

I agree that in many European countries as well as in Canada there are no dirty needles, odors, cats, and drunken doctors. Their socialized system did not deteriorate so much as there are private property rights in other sectors and there is some competition even in health care itself. Our and their future depends, however, on our ability to preserve market economy, private property and whatever freedoms we have left with.

One of my favorite writers, William Somerset Maugham, wrote in 1941 that " If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom; and the irony of it is that, if it is comfort or money it values more, it will lose that too".

In Liberty,

Yuri Maltsev

Report this comment
#6) On August 22, 2009 at 11:09 AM, devoish (62.74) wrote:

David, did you say that Yuri's claim that dirty needles in Russian hospitals caused 78% of Russian aids cases was accurate?

Or did you LOL about something else?


Report this comment
#7) On August 22, 2009 at 11:27 AM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

No, I think his claim that USSR hospitals were hot garbage is accurate.  Feel free to quibble over the rest.  The article cites official Russian estimates.  Now, I don't know about you, but I recall a time when official Russian estimates were hard to come by, and dubious to say the least.  See the WHO excerpt below.

So yes, LOL, at you, for two reasons:
1. You are so desperate to bring me down that you'd put my name in your blog post. Thanks for the publicity. 

2. That you would find something that didn't jive with you in Maltsev's article, attempt to debunk it, FAIL, and then still use that failure as a reason to maintain your support for Soviet style health care.

The magnitude of HIV/AIDS epidemic in eastern part of Europe.

Gromyko A; International Conference on AIDS.

Int Conf AIDS. 1991 Jun 16-21; 7: 33 (abstract no. M.C.43).

World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe

By the end of 1990, a total of 41 564 cases of AIDS were reported to the World Health Organization from 31 European countries. Of these only 1466 AIDS cases were reported from the eastern part of Europe, which includes Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, the USSR and Yugoslavia. Although in these countries the initiation of the epidemic is clearly connected with the introduction of the infection from other continents, at present transmission of the infection is continuing within different population groups with clear variation in modes of transmission. Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland have a clear majority of AIDS cases within the homo/bisexual group. The majority of the Bulgarian cases are in the heterosexual community and the USSR and Yugoslavia exhibit a range of transmission patterns. Only Yugoslavia and Poland show AIDS cases among intravenous drug users. The number of HIV infected among intravenous drug users in Poland has dramatically increased during the last year and now reaches 975 of a total of 1373 HIV infected persons detected so far. During the last two years a new alarming situation arose: the outbreaks of HIV infection in children hospitals in several cities of the USSR where more than 260 children have been infected through nosocomial transmission of the virus, and the occurrence of 1153 AIDS cases among institutionalized children in Romania. Rather low figures of HIV/AIDS in the eastern part of Europe frequently cause questions with regard to reliability of AIDS reporting systems in these countries but the results of HIV seroprevalence received on the basis of extensive screening of various population groups seems to confirm the reported data.

David in Qatar

Report this comment
#8) On August 22, 2009 at 12:28 PM, starbucks4ever (78.34) wrote:


The Decemberist revolt did not lead to the establishment of socialism, so the dating is unambiguous and refers to 1987.

The rural areas is a separate topic. There are thousands of ghost villages throughout the country in which only a dozen people are left. In such a village, you will only find electricity and a dirt road to the nearest town, but no gas or hot water, not even a stationary phone service (though now they have cell phones). It IS an economic failure, no two ways to say that, but's it's NOT a failure of socialized medicine. The health ministry can build a hospital in such a village of 10 people, but it can't build a water supply system there or build a gas pipeline to deliver gas with which to heat the water...Maltsev should have saved this issue for another article - about socialized agriculture or better yet, about choice of infrastructure priorities in totalitarian systems. But I can assure you that no private-run HMO is going to finance the construction of a water supply system in the village of Gadyukino, ever. If they agree to insure such a village at all, it will be becuase they'll be counting on everybody dying there before they can be rushed to the hospital because there are no decent roads either.


To tell the truth, odors and cats just don't matter. Russians are very result-oriented people. If something is working, they just call it a day and use it and let those with a more sensitive psyche worry about the painting, the packaging, and the aestetic appeal. When someone groups odors and cats together with real issues such as filthy needles and drunken doctors, that tells me that this person is, how shall I put it, not very serious.

Report this comment
#9) On August 22, 2009 at 12:44 PM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:


I don't think Russians all have one mind.  Cats roaming the hallways and horrible odors may not matter to some Russians, but I would be surprised to find out that they don't matter to all.  Again, that's something you should take up with Yuri, as you are both Russian.  You guys can sort out what matters to Russians.

That doesn't address the title of this ridiculous blog, nor the lack of evidence to either prove or disprove Yuri's claim.  Nor the fact that his claim was simply part of a broad picture of the Soviet medical care with which he was familiar.

You can subjectively decide to question his "character" and "authenticity," which you are clearly only doing because his experiences fly right in the face with your beliefs.  That's your choice. 

But he had a big picture view of the USSR, having worked on team dedicated to reforming Gorbachev's economy.  So unless you can find another Soviet with big picture experience that can refute Maltsev, proving him to be a "shady" character, as you put it, I'll enter his testimony into my collection.

David in Qatar

Report this comment
#10) On August 22, 2009 at 1:21 PM, devoish (62.74) wrote:


So you have chosen to support the statement "According to official Russian estimates, 78 percent of all AIDS victims in Russia contracted the virus through dirty needles...              ... in the state-run hospitals." as accurate.

As evidence you give us: During the last two years a new alarming situation arose: the outbreaks of HIV infection in children hospitals in several cities of the USSR where more than 260 children have been infected through nosocomial transmission of the virus, and the occurrence of 1153 AIDS cases among institutionalized children in Romania

I am sure you aware that the 260 nosocomial cases is less than 25% of the mentioned 1153 cases and surely less than 87% of the entire population of Russians with HIV.

I am also sure you are aware that in 1987-90 the time period you just referenced blood testing for HIV was unreliable at best, and now when you donate blood you are asked about your sexual history to reduce the chances of collecting contaminated blood donations.

Would you care to compare the results Russia's socialist medicine got with any country predominated by the private delivery models you embrace?

In America's combined system can you even get comparable stats to see if nosocomial infection rates are similar?

The article was junk.


Report this comment
#11) On August 22, 2009 at 1:33 PM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:


You make my brain bleed.  The 260 children were in hospitals and the 1153 were institutionalized

Keep digging.

David in Qatar 

Report this comment
#12) On August 22, 2009 at 1:50 PM, StopLaughing (< 20) wrote:

I really do not want the US Government running my health care. 

 Take one look at how they ran the Katrina rescue not to mention various VA hospitals and you get a clear picture why this approach is not a good option.  That of course is just the quality of service concerns. 

The best reason to appose government run health care is that SS and Medicare are about to be bankrupt.

Current government spending is 185% of current revenues. 

There is no money to spend on additional government. We have to focus on getting the economy running and funding the existing government programs. 

Ask your Dem CongressPerson or Senator how they propose to fund SS and Medicare before they tax the rich to pretend to pay for socialized medicine.

The Dems are not being honest with the American people and the people know it. The Government is going bankrupt and will soon not be able to borrow enought to even pay SS and Medicare. Adding the cost of socialized medicine will put both programs at risk. Both SS and Medicare will suffer cuts as money that could have gone to them will be funneled to socialized medicine.



Report this comment
#13) On August 22, 2009 at 2:00 PM, devoish (62.74) wrote:

87% David. You are not even close to supporting the claim.

You said the 260 Russian children have been infected through nosocomial transmission of HIV.

You are not saying that 1100 Romanian children were infected through nosocomial transmission. They could have been horney 17 year old drug abusing prostitutes.

What country whose healthcare is predominantly the privatized system you want to stick us with did better than socialized Russia? Rwanda?

I'll give you more meaningless BS from the article to defend. Yuri said 800,000 of 55 million UK citizens are currently on line waiting for surgeries. How many of them are waiting to fit it into their own schedules. My brother scheduled knee surgery for after the ski season. He was on a waiting list. How many of them are waiting less than three days? Less than one week? How many of them are for minor surgeries like having a mole removed. How many UK citizens will be bankrupted to pay for them? Especially answer the last question.


Report this comment
#14) On August 22, 2009 at 2:06 PM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:


As fun as this has been (I wouldn't debate you if it wasn't fun), I think it's time to ignore you.  The more you write, the more it becomes clear that you are not interested in the American people and hearing from all sides of the debate.  Most disturbingly, your writings have become more hateful and personal with every comment and post.  Sorting out this debate between us is not nearly as important to me as attempting to lead a good life.  I'll stick with my own posts and request that you leave me out of yours.

Take care, my friend.

David in Qatar

Report this comment
#15) On August 22, 2009 at 2:57 PM, devoish (62.74) wrote:

Oh darn it,

I was hoping you could answer the questions. I would have liked to believe that Americans could quietly go about their lives while "free markets" prevented some men from abusing others.

Report this comment
#16) On August 22, 2009 at 3:22 PM, starbucks4ever (78.34) wrote:

  StopLaughing, You are correct that SS and Medicare WILL be bankrupt in the future given the demographic trends, but you forget to mention that private companies are already getting bankrupt trying to cover their workers. Besides, you did not give your estimate how much HMOs would charge to insure the 65+ population if we were to abolish Medicare tomorrow. The truth is that the government is driving itself into bankruptcy so that HMO execs could live in a Communist paradise. They insure the young and the healthy, and put the old and the disabled on government's shoulders. And after that they poke fun at the government for its fiscal problems.

Report this comment

Featured Broker Partners