In an early entry in what I’m sure will be a rapidly growing genre of “journalism”–history-revising communist apologetics–Newsweek tries to make the case that Russia was better off under communism. You know, because everybody had free government health care, and no one was bothered by troublesome things like opposing political parties and dissenting opinions. Reason.com gives that argument what for:
If we are to take these numbers at face value—I couldn’t track down some of the stats, but will trust that Newsweek is being straight…with the notoriously unreliable figures produced by the Soviet dictatorship—what conclusions can we draw from a decrease in the number of hospitals? Is it that the criminal free market has skimped on health care in Russia, or is it that, during the Yeltsin years, the creaking health care bureaucracy created in post-Stalinist Russia was consolidated and made more efficient. As The Independent noted in 1990, health care in “the Soviet Union compares favourably only with parts of the Third World.” And were those hospitals back “then” stocked with the latest technology? Were they fully equipped with prescription drugs and equipment? (The answer, obviously, is no).