Friday, October 8, 2010

Explain to Me Why Socialism Is So Very Bad Again

Colour me unsurprised* that American health care is killing Americans.

Americans die sooner than citizens of a dozen other developed nations and the usual suspects -- obesity, traffic accidents and a high murder rate -- are not to blame, researchers reported Thursday.

Instead, poor health care may be to blame, the team at Columbia University in New York reported.

They found that 15-year survival rates for men and women aged 45 to 65 have fallen in the United States relative to the other 12 countries over the past 30 years.

. . .

"But what really surprised us was that all of the usual suspects -- smoking, obesity, traffic accidents, and homicides -- are not the culprits," Meunnig said in a statement.

"The U.S. doesn't stand out as doing any worse in these areas than any of the other countries we studied, leading us to believe that failings in the U.S. health care system, such as costly specialized and fragmented care, are likely playing a large role in this relatively poor performance on improvements in life expectancy."

In June, the Commonwealth Fund, which advocates on and does research focusing on health care reform, reported that Americans spend twice as much on health care as residents of other developed countries -- $7,290 per person -- but get lower quality and less efficiency.

Muennig and Sherry Glied compared the United States to Australia, Austria, Belgium, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland.

Yeah, that socialism. It's awful. It allows people to live longer and better. How terrible! Seriously, tell me again why we're so opposed to socialism? Yeah, yeah, yeah higher taxes- and better health. Isn't that worth higher taxes?

Between 1975 and 2005, medical costs went up in all the countries, as did life expectancy.

But costs went up far more in the United States and life expectancy increased to a far lower degree.

Glied and Meunnig do not believe obesity accounts for the differences. While more Americans are obese, overall the populations in all the nations have been getting fatter, they said.

"For obesity to explain the decline in U.S. life expectancy or the increase in health spending relative to the 12 comparison countries, Americans would have to be becoming obese at a faster rate than people in the comparison nations over time," they wrote. But this has not been happening.

Americans are less likely to smoke, and while Americans are more likely to die in car crashes or be murdered, again these rates do not explain the lower life expectancy, the Columbia team said.

Wait, we can't blame the fatties? Well, now that is unAmerican.

So, how bad is the problem?

"In 1950, the United States was fifth among the leading industrialized nations with respect to female life expectancy at birth, surpassed only by Sweden, Norway, Australia, and the Netherlands," they wrote. At last count, the United States was 46th in female life expectancy; 49th for both sexes.

Wow, from 5 to 46. I'd ask how that capitalism is working out for everyone, but clearly, it's not.



*It's a shade of puce, in case you were wondering.

4 comments:

  1. _______________________________________

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    At the present moment people are unusually expectant of a more fundamental diagnosis; more particularly ready to receive it; eager to try it out, if it should be even plausible. But apart from this contemporary mood, the ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else.

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    ReplyDelete
  2. whaaa?

    is it just me, or has DM switched to non-inflammatory political preaching, instead of hell-fire-ridden religious preaching?


    that aside - i read that report, and like you, wondered. the opposition to health care baffles me, not LEAST because those higher taxes are OFFSET by lack of health insurance and health care costs...

    ReplyDelete
  3. You have to wonder why Americans pay twice as much as anyone else for health care, even thought it's not as good as many places. While I don't know for sure, I suspect part of the difference is that doctors get paid more in the States than in Europe, and their insurance companies and lawyers get paid a lot more.

    ReplyDelete
  4. zilch;

    you're very much right. also, the cost of medical school, and the difficultly in paying back student loans and etc are also factors.
    as is malpractice insurance. not only is the cost of said insurance thru the roof, but doctors are having to do ever more, and ever more expensive, tests and procedures to prevent "liability" [the same doctor who will tell everyone who is so much as 10pounds "overweight" that EVERY.SINGLE.PROBLEM.EVAR! is due SOLELY to weight will send a diabetic skinny person to test after test after test, LONG past the point of being able to diagnose, because they can't believe a skinny person will get diabetes and want to cover their asses. it's this COMBO of the WORST CARE EVER. sigh]

    ReplyDelete

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