Monday, April 11, 2005
According to Paul Krugman, the U.S. has a health care crisis. As evidence, Krugman cites the rising costs of health care in the U.S. He also states:
Finally, the U.S. health care system is wildly inefficient. Americans tend to believe that we have the best health care system in the world. (I've encountered members of the journalistic elite who flatly refuse to believe that France ranks much better on most measures of health care quality than the United States.) But it isn't true. We spend far more per person on health care than any other country - 75 percent more than Canada or France - yet rank near the bottom among industrial countries in indicators from life expectancy to infant mortality.
I don't know if the U.S. or France has a better healthcare system. But I do know that the things Krugman states above don't shed any light on the answer to that question. Cost has no bearing on quality (except you would think the higher the cost the better, but perhaps Americans overpay). Neither does life expectancy or infant mortality. Infant mortality is probably due to factors other than the health care system, I highly doubt many of those infants die because of poor treatment. And life expectancy probably has a lot more to do with lifestyle choices than health care.

Krugman concludes:

The fact is that in health care, the private sector is often bloated and bureaucratic, while some government agencies - notably the Veterans Administration system - are lean and efficient. In health care, competition and personal choice can and do lead to higher costs and lower quality. The United States has the most privatized, competitive health system in the advanced world; it also has by far the highest costs, and close to the worst results.

Over the next few weeks I'll back up these assertions, and talk about what a workable health care reform might look like, if we can get ideology out of the way.

Given the lacking analysis in this piece, I don't have very high hopes for his vision for heath care reform....
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I am an attorney in Chicago. Politically speaking, I am an indepedent that tends to lean conservative on fiscal issues and progressive on social issues. I try to remain as unbiased and open-minded as possible. Please email or post any comments, and especially criticisms. If something I say is wrong, or you disagree - let me know about it!



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