Friday, April 22, 2005
Another week...: Another failure by The New York Times' Paul Krugman to deliver on his promise provide the "Krugman plan" for saving Social Security.
No, Krugman would rather falsely disparage the quality of American healthcare.
[T]he United States spends far more on health care than other advanced countries. Yet we don't appear to receive more medical services. And we have lower life-expectancy and higher infant-mortality rates than countries that spend less than half as much per person. How do we do it?
Well, we have a higher infant mortality rate than most other advanced countries because we count many severely premature, low birth-weight babies as live births -- something unique among industrialized nations.
Part of our lower life expectancy can be pegged to demographic factors. It's not politically correct to say it, but African-Americans bring the average down. (That's the big reason why the current Social Security system is an especially bad deal for the black community, too many don't live long enough to collect what they've paid into the system.)
How much of an impact does a nation's life expectancy can you peg to the quality of the medical system? A lot is made of the American diet (not "going on a diet," but simply what Americans eat) -- it would seem that at some point, there's a point of diminishing returns on what medicine can do for you.