Monday, February 14, 2011


I just saw another news report explaining that lifespan figures show 41 countries have longer lifespans than the US. and, of course, the newscaster drew the usual conclusion that "our health care system is failing us". In other words, because the Japanese live a few months or years longer it means we should embrace socialized medicine.

I would like to suggest two questions that someone should ask those who generate these statistics:

1. If you remove homicides from the studies, how does the US compare to other nations?
2. If you disregard neonatal cases, who are considered infant mortalities in the US and stillborns elsewhere, how does that change the numbers?

The second one first: We try to save infants here in the US which other nations would consider stillborn. There aren't a lot of them, but still, averaging in a death at age 0, which another nation would consider to have never been born brings down our numbers. Yet I think the fact that we try to save these lives says good things about our health care system, not bad.

And the other issue. Yes, our homicide rates are deplorable (though largely due to a lack of punishment, and, thus something we could solve if we wished), but I don't see how inner city drug shootings mean our health care system is failing.

Funny how our "investigative" media never looks any deeper into these "studies". They see the numbers, notice those numbers lead to a conclusion they like (more government in health care), and that's it. No deeper inquiry, no questions, just a pronouncement from the talking heads that the omnipotent state will save us all.

Depressing how consistently statist our media has become.

UPDATED 9/24/2007

I forgot to add one more factor that makes these numbers meaningless:

Most of the numbers come from the governments themselves. Not to cast any aspersions upon the governments of North Korea or Cuba, but is it not possible that those states may inflate their life span numbers to give themselves a PR boost?

So, besides the two problems mentioned above, there is the added difficulty of trusting numbers provided by totalitarian states with an interest in cooking the books.

So perhaps the numbers are even less useful than I first suggested.

Originally Posted in Random Notes on 2007/08/13.

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