“Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, noted that the United States invests more on health care than any country, but that its health care system ranks 37th.” – Denver Post, April 29 2008
In the WHO rankings, the United States finished 37th, behind nations like Morocco, Cyprus and Costa Rica. Finishing first and second were France and Italy. Michael Moore makes much of this in his movie “Sicko.” …
But there’s less to these studies than meets the eye. They measure something other than quality of medical care. So saying that the U.S. finished behind those other countries is misleading. …
The WHO judged a country’s quality of health on life expectancy. But that’s a lousy measure of a health-care system. Many things that cause premature death have nothing do with medical care. We have far more fatal transportation accidents than other countries. That’s not a health-care problem. …
When you adjust for these “fatal injury” rates, U.S. life expectancy is actually higher than in nearly every other industrialized nation.
Diet and lack of exercise also bring down average life expectancy.
Another reason the U.S. didn’t score high in the WHO rankings is that we are less socialistic than other nations. What has that got to do with the quality of health care? For the authors of the study, it’s crucial. The WHO judged countries not on the absolute quality of health care, but on how “fairly” health care of any quality is “distributed.” The problem here is obvious. By that criterion, a country with high-quality care overall but “unequal distribution” would rank below a country with lower quality care but equal distribution.
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- Health “reform” vs. medical technology & innovation
- What’s right about United States health care