20 August 2009

America's Relatively Low Life Expectancy ≠ Bad American Healthcare

And there are even more factors involved than Steve Chapman outlines in this awesome quote:
It's true that the United States spends more on health care than anyone else, and it's true that we rank below a lot of other advanced countries in life expectancy. . . .
One big reason our life expectancy lags is that Americans have an unusual tendency to perish in homicides or accidents. We are 12 times more likely than the Japanese to be murdered and nearly twice as likely to be killed in auto wrecks.
In their 2006 book, 'The Business of Health,' economists Robert L. Ohsfeldt and John E. Schneider set out to determine where the U.S. would rank in life span among developed nations if homicides and accidents are factored out. Their answer? First place.
That discovery indicates our health-care system is doing a poor job of preventing shootouts and drunk driving but a good job of healing the sick. All those universal-care systems in Canada and Europe may sound like Health Heaven, but they fall short of our model when it comes to combating life-threatening diseases.
One of the other things that skews the numbers for the US is the way we count infant mortality rates. Here, any baby that shows any signs of life is counted.

Not so in the rest of the industrialized world. This discrepancy--the fact that the United States counts everything & the rest of the world is much, much more selective--skews the numbers the leftists use to argue that American health care is too expensive/worse than everywhere else.

Liberty: Nevermind that the difference between America and the rest of the world is that here, individual Americans spend whatever they will on health care because they are free to do so. In the rest of the world, their governments spend some arbitrary amount on healthcare that serves some while rationing everyone else into queues for basic procedures.

I've said it before & I say it here again: American health care is not perfect. But it is the best in the world.

And there are market-based changes that can make it even better & cover more people.

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.