Monday, February 01, 2010

More is Better?

Interesting graph from National Geographic courtesy of Alterdestiny:The obvious story that National Geographic - as well as the various bloggers that will use this as I do - want to tell you is the really spectacular inefficientcy of the U.S. fee-for-service medical system. We really do get less for our money than pretty much everyone else in the world. Yes, even Mexico.

The clear winners here are the people inside the medical profession. Doctors, hospitals, for-profit healthcare groups...all these folks are clearly making serious bank.

But I find this interesting for more subtle reasons, too. For one thing, look at the line thickness; there really does seem to be a correspondance between seeing your doctor and staying alive. Nowhere on the graph is there a thick blue line that descends from left to right.

The other interesting thing is the change in the slope of the lines down in the "median" area. There seems to be some factors at play here that unbalance the relationship in the industrialized nations surveyed. The Swiss and the Luxembourgeois, for example, must be doing something...wrong? Different? Risky? Their expenditures are the highest of the non-U.S. nations but they get less out of it than anyone else in the group. The Danes must be at risk from some non-medical factor as well.

The Poles and Portugese are some healthy beasts, though, since despite spending relatively little they live to a respectable age for the group. And the Japanese are practically unkillable. Is it the healthy diet? Genetics? A homogeneous society?

Not sure what the others are doing, but it sure seems like we're not doing it, or not as well.

I wonder if anyone in Capitol Hill cares?

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