Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Cost of doing nothing just got higher

In my "cost of doing nothing" post on November 24, I explore some of the implications of not passing health reform.  One implication is that our health care costs will continue to spiral out of control.  That would be bad enough, but it might be tolerable (or at least more tolerable) if we were getting good value for that excess cost.  But we are not.  A new international report just released (and reported on by the Globe today) finds that:

The United States ranks near the bottom in life expectancy among wealthy nations despite spending more than double per person on health care than the industrialized world’s average, an economic group said yesterday.  Life expectancy at birth in the United States was 78.1 years in 2007, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.  That’s a year less than the organization’s average of 79.1, and puts the United States just ahead of the Czech Republic, Poland, and Mexico ..."

Admittedly, there are a number of factors that go into life expectancy.  But one factor is how good a job we do as a nation in keeping people healthy.  And the sober reality is that we are not doing that good a job.


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