Friday, July 31, 2009

Health care stats

Some items that jumped out at me from this Cato Institute study on health care systems around the world:
  • Neighboring states Utah (78.7 years) and Nevada (75.9 years) have nearly a 3 year year difference in life expectancy yet almost identical systems, a further indication of the role played by behavior and the limited utility of life expectancy statistics in the health care debate.
  • A study by Robert Ohsfeldt and John Schneider for the American Enterprise Institute found that exogenous factors are so distorting that if you correct for homicides and accidents, the United States rises to the top of a World Health Organization list for life expectancy. More on that here.
  • Among [American] men, roughly 62.9 percent of those diagnosed with cancer survive for at least five years. The news is even better for women: the five year-survival rate is 66.3 percent, or two-thirds. The countries with the next best results are Iceland for men (61.8 percent) and Sweden for women (60.3 percent). Most countries with national health care fare far worse. For example, in Italy, 59.7 percent of men and 49.8 percent of women survive five years. In Spain, just 59 percent of men and 49.5 percent of women do. And in Great Britain, a dismal 44.8 percent of men and only a slightly better 52.7 percent of women live for five years after diagnosis.
  • One out of every three Canadian physicians sends a patient to the Unites States for treatment each year.
  • The United States drives much of the innovation and research on health care worldwide. Eighteen of the last 25 winners of the Nobel Prize in Medicine are either U.S. citizens or individuals working here. U.S. companies have developed half of all new major medicines introduced worldwide over the past 20 years. In fact, Americans played a key role in 80 percent of the most important medical advances of the past 30 years.

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