Monday, June 25, 2012

As We Prepare For The Court To Read Kaddish Over Obamacare (in Full or in Part)

It's important to remember that our horribly flawed health care system, the one that isn't anything like those smart actually better by many measures.  This article from November 23, 2011 Forbes lists 5 year survival rates for various cancers:
Yes, you read that right. The U.S. is #1. Pretty impressive for a horribly flawed health care system. The article also points out that the longer life expectancy of some other industrialized nations has a lot to do with lower death rates from fatal injuries (traffic accidents and murder), and not so much to do with health care:
A few years back, Robert Ohsfeldt of Texas A&M and John Schneider of the University of Iowa asked the obvious question: what happens if you remove deaths from fatal injuries from the life expectancy tables? Among the 29 members of the OECD, the U.S. vaults from 19th place to…you guessed it…first. Japan, on the same adjustment, drops from first to ninth.


  1. So I have to ask -- why are so many Americans dying from injuries?

  2. Cars and crime -- we have high accidental death rates from motor vehicle accidents and murder.

  3. But cancer survival rates are a notoriously flawed measure, as a moment's reflection will persuade you.

  4. The culture of "Thug Life" seen in our ghettos has a lot to do with our high murder rates. High rates of personal automobile use also play a role. Trains and buses are safer than cars, if less convenient.

    Therefore it is our culture, rather than any failure of medicine or government, that accounts for our high accidental death rate.

  5. Why are cancer survival rates "a notoriously flawed measure"? Ideally, you would not get cancer at all, but once you do, how many survive seems like a useful measure of the effectiveness of a medical care system.

  6. IIRC correctly one of the more flawed measures is infant mortality.
    In the US, in the proper hospital, a pre-mature baby has a chance at survival, even if such a chance is a low one. In other countries, these pre-mature babies have essentially no chance and are not recorded as live births. Since they are recorded as live births here they end up driving up the infant mortality rate as the more pre-mature the baby is the less likely it is to survive.

    Not to mention, it is wildly expensive to try to save such pre-mature babies.

    So the predictable result is that the cost goes up as does the mortality rate.

  7. Once again, lies, damned lies, and statistics.
    And we've gotten all three in the process of getting socialized medicine good and hard.