Friday, December 25, 2009

The National Geographic compares health care costs

My friend Magali Sarfatti-Larson wisely recommends that everyone carefully consider a striking chart put together by the National Geographic that lays out (a) health care spending per person and (b) average life expectancy in a range of affluent societies. (Per capita health costs are on the left, life expectancies are on the right.)

Here is how National Geographic sums up the results:
The United States spends more on medical care per person than any [other] country, yet life expectancy is shorter than in most other developed nations and many developing ones. Lack of health insurance is a factor in life span and contributes to an estimated 45,000 deaths a year. Why the high cost? The U.S. has a fee-for-service system—paying medical providers piecemeal for appointments, surgery, and the like. That can lead to unneeded treatment that doesn’t reliably improve a patient’s health. Says Gerard Anderson, a professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health who studies health insurance worldwide, “More care does not necessarily mean better care.” —Michelle Andrews
Again, to see the chart, click HERE (per capita health costs on the left, life expectancies on the right).

Keep well,
Jeff Weintraub