August 26, 2007
Single Payer Health Care is Efficient
Of course it is indeed efficient: we have politicians making all the decisions centrally, so of course it must be! That is, as well all know, the best way to run everything, isn't it?
Britain has 0.6 critical care beds per 10,000 population compared to 4.4 per 10,000 in the US.
If that's what has been democratically decided then that's just peachy, isn't it?
More than 10,000 people are dying needlessly each year after being denied intensive care treatment, according to senior doctors.
It's the way people are, or to be more accurate, are not, monitored in those critical care beds after they've been operated on.
But then everyone knows that health care has to be rationed, and having politicians doing it is, as we know, efficient, isn't it? Pity about those 10,000 souls a year but there you have it, can't make omlettes of social justice and equity without breaking a few people now, can we?
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Brits continue to live longer than Yanks, however.
If I was put in charge of the NHS, I would look to the Japanese for ideas on how to reform it, for they are the longest-lived people in the world. (I note what you say about the Swedish education system; the same applies here).
Posted by: Philip Hunt | Aug 26, 2007 10:28:28 AM
"Brits continue to live longer than Yanks, however."
Even after adjusting for the different murder- and traffic-fatality rates?
Posted by: Richard G Brown | Aug 26, 2007 10:37:54 AM
"If I was put in charge of the NHS, I would look to the Japanese for ideas on how to reform it, for they are the longest-lived people in the world."
A lot of that is probably due to the Japanese diet and despite heavy smoking.
The question is whether we Brits would put up with a lot of Japanese food - torfu, fish, rice and green tea and very low on any dairy produce. I like it but Chinese food may be a more acceptable alternative to British food in Britain: there aren't too many Japanese take-aways even if there is a splatter of sushi bars nowadays.
Chinese food is much less bland than Japanese food and there's a similar emphasis on fish and rice and little dairy produce. Like Japan, China also has a low incidence of heart disease compared with Britain.
I greatly doubt that healthcare ways in Japan are better than, say, the French system of healthcare.
Posted by: Bob B | Aug 26, 2007 4:09:51 PM
"Even after adjusting for the different murder- and traffic-fatality rates?"
Well if he's adjusting based on the murder rates mentioned in his article, then his 'adjustments' are completely worthless as he's wildly out in his murder statistics.
And anyway the percentage of homicides compared to total deaths is so small as to make it dubious that it would drop the Life Exp by very much at all.
As for the transportation deaths , whilst the US tends to have a higher death rates than most other developed countries, for a lot of the other countries it's not that much higher.
And of course without any hint as to how he 'adjusted' the figures then basically it's a rather spurious claim based on not very much.
Posted by: kb | Aug 26, 2007 5:46:12 PM
Forget the obfuscating diversion of homicide and traffic accident rates and focus instead on the differences in infant mortality per 1,000 live births - generally recognised as a sensitive indicator of the quality of healthcare.
Take for example the figures quoted in the UN Human Development Indicators for high-income countries:
Infant mortality rate per 1,000 live births:
Don't like the UNO? Try this OECD chart instead:
The only OECD countries with higher infant mortality rates than the US were Mexico and Turkey!!
The only reasonable conclusion on the evidence from independent international sources is that average standards of heathcare in America are absolutely rotten compared with other peer group, high-income countries.
Now compare public and private spending on healthcare in OECD countries in US Dollars at PPP:
Spending on healthcare is higher in America than in any other OECD country. In Britain, we tend to overlook that public spending on healthcare in America is about the same as in Britain - the big difference is that private spending on healthcare in America is about as much again whereas private spending on healthcare in Britain is very low.
Conclusion: on the evidence, Americans get a very bad deal from their system of healthcare. They are being ripped off.
Posted by: Bob B | Aug 26, 2007 10:47:58 PM
When looking at infant mortality you also have to note that in the US they are far more likely to try and save a very premature baby than in the UK. So, given that more risks are taken, its understandable that the infant mortality rate is higher surely?
Not that there's not a lot wrong with the US system, but that doesn't mean our system is better.
Posted by: Tristan Mills | Aug 27, 2007 11:08:48 AM
" When looking at infant mortality you also have to note that in the US they are far more likely to try and save a very premature baby than in the UK. "
Any actual evidence for that claim?
Posted by: kb | Aug 27, 2007 12:33:50 PM