Measures of quality and cost of American health care

In most books, articles, and web sites two measures are used to measure the quality of health care in a nation. These are first, infant mortality that is usually measured in infant deaths per 1,000 population:

The second measure of the quality of medical care is life expectancy, which differs for men and women:

These charts of data report a poor showing for American health care. Yet we Americans pay far more for our health care than other industrial nations as shown in this chart of the data:

Other sessions — reported on other pages on this site — probe into why Americans have such a higher cost of medical care.

Cost of drugs
Among these facts are the far higher cost of drugs in America than in other industrial nations, although the research to develop drugs is now done by transnational corporations. Much of the cost in the U.S. is provided by the National Institute of Health. American drug corporations spend more now on promotion than on research! Since President Bush's limiting of embryonic stem cell research many researchers have moved to other nations for more open research possibilities.

Another factor is private for-profit insurance that has administrative and overhead costs of 25–33% while Medicare has 8%. Also read an interview with retired insurance v-p Wendell Potter. This seminar session's title is "choose: do no harm or the bottom line."

A complicating factor is the millions of working poor and prevalence of poverty in America, so that many persons and families have to decide between medical treatment and food, housing, other needs — even though they work often two jobs. This is less serious with senior citizens because of Medicare; does that suggest a solution to our health care crisis in America?


Copyright © 2008 John F. Yeaman