Please turn on JavaScript

Brooks Wilson's Economics Blog: Pretson and Ho on US Health Care System

Monday, September 28, 2009

Pretson and Ho on US Health Care System

The abstract of a Population Studies Working Paper titled, "Low Life Expectancy in the United States: is the Health Care System at Fault?," by Samuel Preston and Jessica Ho reads

Life expectancy in the United States fares poorly in international comparisons, primarily because of high mortality rates above age 50. Its low ranking is often blamed on a poor performance by the health care system rather than on behavioral or social factors. This paper presents evidence on the relative performance of the US health care system using death avoidance as the sole criterion. We find that, by standards of OECD countries, the US does well in terms of screening for cancer, survival rates from cancer, survival rates after heart attacks and strokes, and medication of individuals with high levels of blood pressure or cholesterol. We consider in greater depth mortality from prostate cancer and breast cancer, diseases for which effective methods of identification and treatment have been developed and where be behavioral factors do not play a dominant role. We show that the US has had significantly faster declines in mortality from these two diseases than comparison countries. We conclude that the low longevity ranking of the United States is not likely to be a result of a poorly functioning health care system.

The authors include statistical results but minimize technical description. The authors do make frequent use of medical terms for obvious reasons.

Replace this text with...

No comments:

Post a Comment