Monday, August 3, 2009

Ten Reasons Why America’s Health Care Is Better

"Ten reasons why America’s health care system is in better condition than you might suppose" by Scott W. Atlas. [Article title changed to "Here’s a Second Opinion."]
Medical care in the United States is derided as miserable compared to health care systems in the rest of the developed world. Economists, government officials, insurers, and academics beat the drum for a far larger government role in health care. Much of the public assumes that their arguments are sound because the calls for change are so ubiquitous and the topic so complex. Before we turn to government as the solution, however, we should consider some unheralded facts about America’s health care system.
Read the complete Stanford University Hoover Digest article here. [Article title changed to "Here’s a Second Opinion."]

1 comment :

  1. 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. 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 pupose of people actually looking them up, as it turns out that all are from suspect sources, or do not actually have anything to do with the subject, or concludes the exact opposite of what the authour claims. I am still a tad shocked that the response to critisim was just to delete the refrerences when Hoover published it.
    (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 was originally produced for the NCPA. It can be found here (With the actual references):

    Looking up the references and comparing them to the authors claims is probably worth the time.

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

    Just in case someone thought they might try to be impartial despite the board.

    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.

    There are about 30 countries in the world with universal coverage against which the US should be compared i.e. the EU25, Australia, NZ, Canada, Japan, Norway...Fot this article to be convincing it would need to show the US towards the top of these 30 for the 10 reasons listed. In fact it compares the US to only one nation (Canada) for three 'reasons'. It compares to just two other countries (Canada and the UK) for a further one reason. What about the other 28/29 countries?

    It is not difficult to cherry-pick ten indicators, and then selecting countries you can beat to compare to.