September 7, 2009

Health Care Statistics

I've mentioned before that I don't really understand the health care debate. It's confusing and made up of all manner of deeply engrained systems, attitudes, etc., and furthermore much of the actual intelligent commentary is covered up by people screaming about Death Panels and Nazis and waving signs about abortion, so you have to go digging to even find out anything that's for real.

Today I decided to go digging for statistics, and found that the World Health Organization has a nifty thing where you can pick your country, pick your variables, and get it all laid out on a nice table. So I picked the US and some countries that I'd seen on that Michael Moore movie "Sicko" and some countries that I just think are kind of cool.

For example, one of the variables I picked was "Government expenditure on health as percentage of total expenditure of health." Most countries were in the 70-80% range, so the government pays 70-80% of all money spent on health care. Switzerland was the lowest European spending at 60%, and the United States fell in around 45%. But then the next variable was "Government expenditure on health as percentage of total government expenditure," the US and Switzerland had the highest percentages. I have no idea how that works, and it seems weird. And then there was another column on out-of-pocket expenditure that made even less sense to me - I think I misunderstood what exactly they were calculating - so I ignored it.

We had the highest overall adult mortality rate, by quite a bit, and also for mortality rate from cardiovascular disease, and second highest for mortality rate from injuries, and highest for non-communicable diseases. We had the lowest life expectancy by several years under two different measuring systems, and the highest infant mortality rate - more than three times as high as several other countries.

The money stuff I don't really understand. But something is obviously messed up, and how badly it's messed up seems to be getting lost in all the back-and-forth yelling going on.

It kind of sucks, and I don't feel informed enough to begin to know what to do about it. Except perhaps move to Europe.


Unknown said...

Move to Canada-it is closer and has the same effect.

I despise Capitalism(go figure) and would prefer this to be a communist/marxist country any day. However, since I know it will never come to pass and every attempt Obama makes to better the Health Care system will be thwarted by ignorant social disdain for his "socialist" approach, I, too, am at a loss of ideas.
-Licorice Lain

Spiffy said...

I thought about it, but Canada is too cold.

Unknown said...

Hmmm, you go with Cuba, but....not as many rights.

I saw Moore's film and thought it was intelligent, but I still have a grudge against him because of his film about Columbine. I think he went to far in that film.
-Licorice Lain