It’s true that the United States spends more on health care than anyone else, and it’s true that we rank below a lot of other advanced countries in life expectancy. . . .
One big reason our life expectancy lags is that Americans have an unusual tendency to perish in homicides or accidents. We are 12 times more likely than the Japanese to be murdered and nearly twice as likely to be killed in auto wrecks.
In their 2006 book, ‘The Business of Health,’ economists Robert L. Ohsfeldt and John E. Schneider set out to determine where the U.S. would rank in life span among developed nations if homicides and accidents are factored out. Their answer? First place.
That discovery indicates our health-care system is doing a poor job of preventing shootouts and drunk driving but a good job of healing the sick. All those universal-care systems in Canada and Europe may sound like Health Heaven, but they fall short of our model when it comes to combating life-threatening diseases.
One of the other things that skews the numbers for the US is the way we count infant mortality rates. Here, any baby that shows any signs of life is counted.
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