Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Health care rhetoric and reality

Those who think in terms of talking points, instead of trying to understand realities, make much of the fact that some countries with government-controlled medical care have longer life expectancies than that in the United States.
Indeed, my experience is that many advocates of socialized health care are fond of trotting out the fact that the U.S. does not rank especially high in terms of life expectancy compared to other countries, at #45 out of 191 countries and territories. As I have written before, however, life expectancy is a poor proxy for the efficacy of a health care system.

After all, would we apply this same logic to the different U.S. states, where the difference in life expectancy between the highest ranked state (Hawaii) and lowest (Washington DC) is eight years? Does that mean we should all adopt Hawaii's health care regulations? Should we say that the health care systems in Minnesota (78.8 year life span) and the European Union (78.7) are equivalent because of similar life expectancies?

The better metric of medical care, as Sowell points out, is its ability to treat illness and injury. Given differing behavioral patterns in different countries it defies common sense to think that that Americans and people from other countries become injured and sick at the same rate.So let's take a look at how Americans compare with people in other countries once they get sick:

These are things we need to consider at the Obama Administration attempts to lead us down the road to nationalized health care.

No comments: