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Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Fluffy Economist

Good post


On the other hand, some people mentioned the role of primary care and preventive medicine, much more developed in single-payers systems than in the US (with good reason, because it's much cheaper). My guess is that it would affect even the higher income population because it is a question of medical culture.


«his comment, "Score one for advocates of single-payer systems" belies the researcher's comments, cited in the NYT piece above,»

But his comment is right, if one looks at the cost: the enormously more expensive USA healthcare system does not make USA people more healthy. Sure, the much cheaper UK system enjoys the advantage of a healthier population.

But the point remains that spending a whole more on healthcare (single payer means rationing in effect) does not result in better health, precisely because SES factors are more important than health spending.


I second what Blissex said. The single-payer system, and the attendant rationing, is surely much (if not all) of the reason that the English spend less on health care. The implicit argument against such as system (at least the British model) is that “you get what you pay for.” Apparently, though, the English get much better than what they pay for in terms of health outcomes. Even though “health insurance cannot be the central reason for the better health outcomes,” the much cheaper health insurance system doesn’t seem to be doing any harm. Score one for advocates of single-payer systems.

Arthur Eckart

The link below shows life expectancies for 226 countries. UK ranks 38th and U.S. ranks 48th.


George  J. Georganas

One is not sick, unless a physician says so. This study, however, relies on patients' self-reporting of chronic diseases. There is the intriguing phrase "biological markers of disease", but self-reporting bias may yet be there.
Now, there has been much fuss about the poor in the US being unable to get health insurance. Yet this is the group that reports itself as most afflicted by disease. Presumably, preventive medicine in the UK catches and treats diseases at an earlier stage, while, in the US, the poor put off the day of diagnosis until the symptoms are acute.
Then, there are the working time and physical exertion habits. Not much controlling for them in the study.
So, the headlines in the press seem to be a little too conclusive.

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