Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Think America Has the World’s Best Health Care System? You Won’t After Seeing This Chart

Sarah Kliff writes:

This, from Austin Frakt over at the Incidental Economist, is a terrifying chart. It shows potential years of life lost to different diseases, from circulatory issues to congenital defects, in the United States compared with other OECD countries.
The bubbles with numbers greater than one mean the United States is losing more life to a particular condition than the average member country in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. A bubble with a number less than one means Americans are losing fewer years of life, although you don't see many of those, because, in every category measured in 2008, the United States did worse than than average.

Wait until Obamacare is in full swing, US life expectancy is going get even worse.


  1. While I agree that the provision of medical services and products in the United States is seriously distorted and hindered in countless ways as a result of government intervention, this chart does not tell us anything about other factors affecting health, such as diet and other individual and cultural factors.

    Government control over the food supply is also an important element. Most countries have similarly gone down the path of government medicine, such as with the many "single-payer" socialized schemes, but I doubt many have subsidized and nearly monopolized nutritionally worthless or downright toxic food to the same extent as the United States.

  2. Bob,

    You do know the difference between healthcare (ie individuals taking care of their own health) and medical care (services provided by others. Since healthcare is provided by each individual, there doesn't exist a healthcare system.

  3. Funny how the decline corresponds with Government's involvement with healthcare.(LBJ's crap).
    Actually..its not funny.

  4. Charts like this bother me, too, because we're looking at the comparison of the USA to a median. As we go from 1960 to 2008, we don't know with which countries they compare the USA. Those countries might be going through a radical improvement in their health care because they went from people picking nits off of each other to having free-market capitalism.

    The other problem is that healthcare is being compared for the entire country. This same distortion is done with education. The USA marginalizes huge swathes of the country through the welfare system. If you can afford it, education and healthcare can be the best.

    The USA just needs free-market capitalism again to make it good for everyone in the country.