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Sunday, November 4, 2007

Beyond those health care numbers

Here is an article written by a Harvard professor. He goes over the argument that people for a government controlled health care system often mention. It is a fact that people in Canada have a higher life expectancy and lower infant death rate. However as this article points out, it is not necessarily a result of the health care system. Many proponents of the government system use these facts as 'proof' that the government controlled system is better. However other issues such as lifestyle and cultural issues also play into the differences in the statistics. Americans are typically more obese than their Canadian counterparts. This fact alone could result in dramatic differences in life expectancy and has nothing to do with the health care system. Anyway I agree with this author. Enjoy the article.

By N. Gregory Mankiw

Here are three true but misleading facts about health care that politicians and pundits in the United States love to use to frighten the public.

The United States has lower life expectancy and higher infant mortality than Canada, which has national health insurance.

The differences are indeed significant. Life expectancy at birth is 2.6 years greater for Canadian men than for American men. Among women, Canadians outlive Americans by 2.3 years. Infant mortality in the United States is 6.8 per 1,000 live births, compared with only 5.3 in Canada.

These facts are often taken as evidence for the inadequacy of the U.S. health system. But a recent study by June and Dave O'Neill, economists at Baruch College, from whom these numbers come, shows that the difference in health outcomes has more to do with broader social forces.

Continue reading this article here.

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