Sunday, August 02, 2009

American Healthcare; could it be that it is so expensive, because it's the Best?

Ten reasons why American health-care is more expensive - and better (source: Hoover Digest at Stamford)

They are compelling reasons. Can anyone doubt that GOOD medical care does cost more? That's not to say there aren't things we can do to lower costs, but even so, quality usually costs more. Much of what we take for granted isn't even available to others. Even the poorer among us in the USA often get what they need. The assertion that without Obamacare, "poor sick people will die in the streets" is false.

There is room for reform, for sure. The Health Care Industry does not have our best interests in mind, any more than the government does. We are really going to have to insist on reforms that serve OUR interests, building on what's good about the current system, not destroying it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

At first glance, that looks good.

But...I suppose a few things should be pointed out:

1) Three of the 10 points refers to US cancer treatment. An area in which the US is commonly known to lead the world. And that is good, but apparently it was impossible to find a full 10 areas where the US did well?

2) The version posted is a reprint. The original article included references. Although possibly not for the purpose of people actually looking them up, as it turns out that they are from suspect sources, or do not actually have anything to do with the subject, or just concludes the exact opposite of what the author claims. I am still a tad shocked that the response to criticim was just to delete the responses when it was next published.
(The author interned in 1982, I personally would speculate that he was not quite onboard with the notion that when writing for the internet, his references can be googled in a minute.)

3) The report is not a Hoover foundation report. It was originally produced for the NCPA. It can be found here (With the actual references):

The NCPA is a think tank, whose board includes representatives from health insurance and medical malpractice law industry. Their latest quarterly report can be found here:

People might reasonably think that they might strive for impartiality, even if their board contains health insurance and medical malpractice representation. If so, I recommend they look up the quarterly.

There are a number of other problems with the report that the average reader should be able to spot. Such as the deliberate selection of Canada for comparisons in waiting times. Canada is known to be the only country in the first world with longer waiting times than the US.
Thus "second worst in the first world" becomes something good.

As an example, it can be mentioned that if we look up the actual reprot the author uses to support point 7, we find that this report found the US to be far more dissatisfied than any other nation surveyed. That same report also finds the US to be uniquely underperforming in health care.

One expert said the survey revealed -- once again -- the shortcomings of the U.S. health-care system.
"Comparing the U.S. health-care system to other industrialized countries is not for the faint of heart. The deficiencies in the U.S. system are painfully evident in every such study, and this one is no exception," said Dr. David Katz, director of Yale University School of Medicine's Prevention Research Center. "We manage to spend more on less efficient health care than any country in the world."

And that was the best the author could find to support his point? Pretty damning.

The fact is, the report gets to cherry-pick ten stats, and cherry-pick the countries to compare them to. And still fails to find a full ten areas where the US can beat someone.