We’re #1? – ctd.

Remember that “study” from the Legatum Institute that showed we were the best in the world in terms of health? I’d moved on, but Kenneth Thomas hasn’t. He contacted the Institute and got more information:

This is more confusing than illuminating. While some variables are more highly weighted than health spending, for example, individuals’ satisfaction with their health, the difference in scores are tiny; by contrast, the differences in health care spending are gigantic. As the report states, the U.S. spends “66% more than the next country (Norway), 84% more than Canada, 133% more than the UK, and 205% more than New Zealand.”

He compares the US with France, using Legatum’s data, and finds:

France has substantial edges on all but one of the objective measures (infant mortality is less than half the U.S. rate), is essentially tied on the satisfaction measures, provides more than twice as many hospital beds per thousand population, and only trails – by a huge margin, of course – in spending on health care. Spending almost exactly half what the U.S. spends, the French get an extra 3 years of healthy life, fewer than half the deaths from respiratory diseases, and less than half the infant mortality. As Carroll asked, how is spending a measure of health? This is a more methodological question I’ll take up in a future post.

I look forward to that!

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