- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sen. Tom Harkin, the Democratic chair of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, returned from a weeklong tour of Cuba with a somewhat shocking assessment: The poverty-stricken nation does much better in protecting children from dying than America.

“[Cuba‘s] a poor country, but they have a lower child mortality rate than ours,” he told reporters Wednesday, the National Journal reported. “Their life expectancy is now greater than ours. It’s interesting — their public health system is quite remarkable.”

Mr. Harkin balked at suggesting America should adopt Cuba’s public health plan, but touted the socialist state’s reported low infection rate in hospitals. The country has performed admirably in decreasing the numbers of smokers via public health campaigns, he said.

Cuba and the United States haven’t maintained diplomatic relations since 1959.