Correct Measures, Health Care Edtion

From Strange Fictions:

US expenditure is the highest and the two quality of life factors appear to be the lowest in comparison. On the face of it, Atrios and AB seem to produce a reasonable argument, but...

The vital measurement for 'quality of health care,' as Atrios correctly points out, is productivity - the health care received per dollar of expenditure. However life expectancy and infant mortality do not measure productivity - they measure the overall health of the population, which depends upon variables such as nutrition, exercise, obesity, pollution, stress, smoking, alcohol, even accident-rates are prone to large variations... unless these variables are isolated and accounted for, the comparison is void.

Somebody's got it right.

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Stormy Dragon - your first

Stormy Dragon - your first question is tricky, and access is a valid consideration. I suggest doing as I did in the linked post, comparing mortality rates for a range of afflictions is one way which avoids the inequality issue... except in extreme cases like Cuba or North Korea where a great many may not even be diagnosed... but fine for comparing US and Canada eg. There is a problem in that doing so ignores 'quality of life' health care provision (another reason why infant mortality and life-expectancy are such bad measures,) the extent of which increases with diminishing returns for the other... It is quite impossible to conclude healthcare makes the difference from a life expectancy of 79.7 in Canada and 77.1 in US without further research... I'm sorry, that's just the way it is. Strowbridge - the figures I've listed show the US ahead for prostate and breast cancers... the rest of your comments are too confused for me!

Just to be fair to the other

Just to be fair to the other side, there are some areas in which the American system is better than the Canadian system. For instance, if you have a heart attack in the United States you have a better chance of surviving than in Canada, but the opposite is true for Cancer.

I agree Stormy Dragon.

I agree Stormy Dragon. People complaining about the numbers just don't like what they say. All the hard numbers we have suggest that the American Health Care system costs more than in Canada, France, Sweden, etc. but is less effective. They claim that these numbers don't show the whole picture, (and I agree, there's a lot of nuance here) but they can't show any numbers that back up their central claim.

The problem is that it's

The problem is that it's really hard to measure 'health care' received. How many appendectomies is a heart transplant equivalent to?

Also, productivity is prone to deceptive averages when their are 'outlier' cases in particular country. A country where a small handful of elites have access to an effectively endless supply of health care while the majority of the population is denied (Cuba, for instance) may have a similar productivity average to one where a somewhat lesser degree of healthcare is widely affordable. The advantage of infant morality and life expectancy is harder to game. No matter how rich Castro gets, he can only survive birth once. Likewise, he can't throw of life expectancy by living for 500 years.