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News? Check. Politics? Check. Music? Check. Random thoughts about life? Check. Readership? Ummm.... let me get back to you on that. Updated when I feel like I have something to say, and remember to post it.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Is health care in the U.S. as bad as some claim?

Stuart Browning has a good piece on the eternal debate on the quality of U.S. and foreign health care systems. Browning addresses Krugman specifically, but provides some interesting information on the two most common talking points, infant mortality and life expectancy.

On life expectancy:

Blacks have shorter life expectancies than whites, hispanics or asians. The black population of Canada is numerically insignificant while black Americans make up 13% of the U.S. population. Japanese females have the longest life-spans of all - regardless of whether they live in Japan or in America - i.e. regardless of the health care system they live under.


On infant mortality:

Several factors are known to increase the likelihood of low-birth-weight babies, but the most significant is race. African American women deliver very small babies at twice the rate of white American women, This is true even when controlling for the mother's age, income and education. It is even true holding constant the number of prenatal medical visits. Why some ethnic groups have disproportionate numbers of low-birth-rate babies is not fully understood.


Both interesting statistics I hadn't heard before. They're surprising, and perhaps closer analysis might explain them away. (There are probably a small number of Japanese women in the U.S., and they're probably above average in income, which may not be controlled.) So for those who argue like Krugman: You have your work cut out for you!

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