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Misleading the Public on Health Care Costs

May 24, 2016

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Misleading the Public on Health Care Costs

May 24, 2016

 

The World Economic Forum published an article that compares expenditures on health care by nation. It's interesting. The point of the article was to demonstrate how ineffective and expensive American healthcare is. Without a doubt, American health care is ridiculously overpriced. But I would make this observation--life expectancy in most 'advanced nations' is right around 80 years, +/- a year or so, regardless of health care expenditures.

 

In other words, it doesn't much matter how much a country spends on health care--the average human life expectancy is about 80 years. And I would contend that in instances where the life expectancy is noticeably lower (like Hungary, Portugal, Mexico, the US) the reasons for that lower life expectancy are typically NOT ineffective health care, but poverty and war or, in our case, obesity caused by our sedentary lifestyle (21% of all US health care costs). Higher costs in the US can also be attributed to the ubiquity of elective procedures--aesthetic surgery to satisfy our vanity; after all, bigger eyes, a more shapely nose, bigger boobs and less fat don't come cheap.

And since life expectancy is around 80 years, it's not particularly productive (or economical) to spend endlessly to extend it. Americans tend to waste a lot of health care dollars on the last six months of life--why? Maybe we should learn to let go and give death its place in life.

 

The truth is that the life expectancy of our species is more a function of death from war, availability of basic immunizations and good hygiene than of access to 'advanced health care.'

 

Superficial analyses like the one in the linked article are misleading and simplistic. They start with an assumption and trot out the usual simple-minded arguments to justify a major systemic reformation. Tell ya' what: wanna' reform? Eat right, exercise and stop going to the doctor so much.

 

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