Friday, August 28, 2009

Health care resources

One of the many failings of our mainstream media right now is their seemingly intractable inability - with very rare exceptions - to talk about the actual state of health care in economically comparable countries. But it's not as though the information isn't available.

This is a portion of the OECD Health Data 2009: Statistics and Indicators for 30 Countries (07/01/09). It's has a convenient graph showing comparative per capita expenditures in a number of countries, of which the United States is far and away the highest: US-$7,280; Norway (the next-highest)-$4,763; Switzerland (with the system most like the proposed reforms in the US)-$4,417; Canada-$3,895; Austria-$3,763; Germany-$3,588; Britain-$2,992; Spain-$2,671.

The Urban Institute has a paper on the comparative quality of US health care, How Does the Quality of U.S. Health Care Compare Internationally? by Elizabeth Docteur and Robert Berenson. From the Abstract:

In a review of published literature, authors Elizabeth Docteur and Robert Berenson, explored the question, How Does the Quality of U.S. Health Care Compare Internationally? The findings don't provide a definitive answer but suggest no support for the oft-repeated claim that "U.S. health care is the best in the world." The U.S. does relatively well in some areas, including cancer care, and less well in others, including conditions amenable to prevention and coordinated management of chronic conditions. The authors conclude that concerns that health reform could compromise currently excellent care are unwarranted; health reform can only help. [my emphasis]
The Urban Institute also provides Health Care Town Hall Debating Points.

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