ARE OTHER COUNTRIES REALLY MORE EFFICIENT IN PROVIDING HEALTH CARE THAN THE U.S.?

By Burke Balch, JD
Robert Powell Center for Medical Ethics

As justification for the ObamaCare law’s limits on what resources Americans will be permitted to devote to saving the lives of themselves and their family members (as documented at http://www.nrlc.org/HealthCareRationing/LifeatRiskLongform.pdf ), its advocates constantly claim that the U.S. spends far more on health care than other countries that, they claim, show better results.

Today, John Goodman of the National Center for Policy analysis posted a must-read blog debunking that claim.  As he points out, in cancer survival rates, “The U.S. basically leads the world.” He adds,

“What about life expectancy statistics — a favorite of the critics, since Americans don’t score very high? It turns out that when you remove outcomes doctors have almost no impact on — death from fatal injuries (car accidents, violent crime, etc.) — U.S. life expectancy jumps from 19th in the world to number one!”

What is especially fascinating in Goodman’s blogpost is his demonstration that ObamaCare advocates get a lot of the figures wrong in terms of the supposedly “efficient” health care systems abroad, because their estimates of how much other countries spend is artificially low. In Greece, for example, “patients spend nearly as much on bribes and other ‘informal’ payments as they do on ‘formal’ costs such as insurance co-pays. Yet these bribes do not show up in the official statistics. Bottom line: in comparing international spending totals, we are usually comparing apples and oranges.”

Take a look at Goodman’s analysis.  It’s well worth reading!

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