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Scott Atlas on American Health Care
EconTalk (Library of Economics and Liberty) ^
| July 30, 2012
| Russ Roberts and Scott Atlas
Posted on 11/03/2012 1:47:18 AM PDT by GoodDay
Scott Atlas, Senior Fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution and author of In Excellent Health, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the U.S. health care system. Atlas argues that the U.S. health care system is top-notch relative to other countries and that data that show otherwise rely on including factors unrelated to health care or on spurious definitions. For example, life expectancy in the United States is unexceptional. When you take out suicides and fatal car accidents, factors that Atlas argues are unrelated to the health care system, the United States has the longest life expectancy in the world. A similar change occurs when measuring infant mortality--foreign data do not include as many at-risk births as in the United States and the measure of a birth is not comparable. In a number of other areas including cancer survival rates, access to hip replacement surgery and waiting times to see a physician, Atlas argues that the United States is also at or near the top. The discussion concludes with a discussion of access to health care for the poor and the failure of Medicaid.
TOPICS: Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: healthcare; medicaid; obamacare
An excellent audio podcast on the real state of US healthcare turns out, it's at, or near, the very top, in terms of outcomes: highest quality and greatest access. The problem, of course, is with the cost; something that Obamacare doesn't even try to address. The biggest surprises for many listeners will be the discussion of the often-cited statistics regarding US life-expectancy and US infant mortality. Regarding the former, if we subtract away the effects of things that are not a function of a country's healthcare system like suicides and high-speed traffic deaths life-expectancy in the US is the highest in the world. Regarding the latter, other countries (including those in western Europe) do not consider "at risk" babies those born severely prematurely, underweight, or undersized to be live births at all; they are simply counted as miscarriages or still-births, so they don't appear in those countries' infant mortality stats, making them appear to be lower than the stats for the US. Thus, the reason the stats for infant mortality APPEAR to be much higher for the US than for other countries, is that the US counts every birth.
posted on 11/03/2012 1:47:32 AM PDT
posted on 11/03/2012 1:48:51 AM PDT
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