Misleading Statistics

I really like this WSJ article by Scott Atlas. He explains the bogus claims that are used to rank our healthcare system is very low. I have brought this up before but I will let his quotes lay it out for you again

  • America’s rate of infant mortality—death within the first year after birth—was 5.9 per 1,000 live births in the latest statistics, 32nd among 35 developed countries, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. But these aren’t apples-to-apples comparisons. Unlike many other countries, the U.S. strictly adheres to the World Health Organization’s definition, recording as a live birth any baby, “irrespective of the duration of the pregnancy,” who “breathes or shows any other evidence of life.” By contrast, WHO noted in a 2008 report, it is “common practice in several western European countries to register as live births only those infants who survived for a specified period.” Infants who don’t survive are “completely ignored for registration purposes.” A British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology study of Western Europe found that terminology alone caused up to 40% variation and 17% false reductions in infant mortality
  • The life-expectancy average doesn’t separate deaths caused by illness from those caused by violence and accidents, many of which are immediately fatal and thus not reflective of health-care quality. Two-thirds of deaths among Americans between 1 and 24 are not from illness, and so are more than 40% of deaths from 25 to 44. For men between 20 and 24, accidents and homicides account for 84% of the gap in mortality rates between Canada and the U.S.
  • The world’s leading medical journals report the U.S. has superior results, including for cancerheart diseasehigh blood pressurediabetes, and high cholesterol; the quickest access to life-changing surgeries that permit pain-free mobility and restore vision; superior screening rates for cancer; the earliest access to new drugs; and broad access to safer, more accurate diagnostic technology that forms the crux of modern health care. Even for the lowest-priority care, U.S. wait times are far shorter than for seriously ill patients in peer countries like Canada and the U.K.

Make sure you have this information ready and available when people start ragging on our healthcare system. I know it’s not affordable. I get that. As you know, I believe the free market can fix this while still keeping us superior in those categories listed below. Most importantly, always scrutinize statistics because many times they are extremely misleading.

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