The Right To Die

October 7, 2014

Loyal readers know that I have been critical of the claim that the health care systems of other countries are superior to our own. But this is one area where some other countries outperform us in spades. As I wrote at the Health Affairs blog:

  • In Germany and Austria, a cash payment is made to people eligible for long-term care — with few strings attached and little oversight on how the money is used.
  • In England and the Netherlands, the disabled and the elderly manage their own budgets, choosing the services and providers that meet their needs.

via The Right To Die.


In Referendum With U.S. Implications, Swiss Voters Reject Single-Payer Health Care 62-38

October 1, 2014

In a decision with meaningful implications for the future of U.S. health reform, Swiss voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to replace their fully privatized health care system with a government-run, single-payer one. Why does this matter for Americans? Because efforts by both Democrats and Republicans to reform U.S. health care have been modeled after the Swiss system. Switzerland offers us a glimpse as to what a popular, market-oriented health-care system could look like.

Many Americans assume that all European countries have single-payer health care systems. That’s not true. They all offer universal coverage—in which health insurance is subsidized for all citizens–but only some of those countries, like the United Kingdom, actually have a system in which private insurers play no meaningful role, because the government serves as the sole insurance company i.e., the single payer.

via In Referendum With U.S. Implications, Swiss Voters Reject Single-Payer Health Care 62-38.


BDG ASIA | Growing Healthcare Spending in Southeast Asia Brings Opportunity » BDG ASIA

August 10, 2014

Despite healthy per capita spending, however, Southeast Asian countries on average spend less on healthcare as a percentage of GDP than any other region in the world. While North America and the European Union spent 17.2% and 10.2% of their GDP on healthcare respectively in 2012, Southeast Asia only spent 3.9% that same year. This is less than poorer regions like Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

via BDG ASIA | Growing Healthcare Spending in Southeast Asia Brings Opportunity » BDG ASIA.


Health-care expenditure and health policy in the USA versus other high-spending OECD countries : The Lancet

July 17, 2014

The USA has exceptional levels of health-care expenditure, but growth has slowed dramatically in recent years, amidst major efforts to close the coverage gap with other countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development OECD. We reviewed expenditure trends and key policies since 2000 in the USA and five other high-spending OECD countries. Higher health-sector prices explain much of the difference between the USA and other high-spending countries, and price dynamics are largely responsible for the slowdown in expenditure growth. Other high-spending countries did not face the same coverage challenges, and could draw from a broader set of policies to keep expenditure under control, but expenditure growth was similar to the USA. Tightening Medicare and Medicaid price controls on plans and providers, and leveraging the scale of the public programmes to increase efficiency in financing and care delivery, might prevent a future economic recovery from offsetting the slowdown in health sector prices and expenditure growth.

via Health-care expenditure and health policy in the USA versus other high-spending OECD countries : The Lancet.


The Global Slowdown in Medical Costs – NYTimes.com

July 17, 2014

But when it comes to health care spending, the picture is starting to look more global. After decades when health spending in the United States grew much faster than it did in other Western countries, a new pattern has emerged in the last two decades. And it has become particularly pronounced since the economic crisis. The rate of health cost growth has slowed substantially since 2000 in every high-income country, including the United States, Canada, Britain, France, Germany and Switzerland, according to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.“We used to be different,” said Louise Sheiner, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a former senior economist at the Federal Reserve. “Since about 1990, we’ve looked about the same.”Continue reading the main storyHealth Cost Growth, Slowing Around the WorldThe growth in health costs has slowed in the United States, but it has slowed in other countries, too.Annual growth in per–capita health care costs, 2001 and 2011+6%4%2%0%+5%CanadaFranceGermanyNetherlandsSwitzerlandBritain+1% – U.S.20012011Source: OECDThe synchronized slowdown offers reasons to be skeptical about neat explanations for the trends in any one country, be it local changes in medical practices or Obamacare’s various attempts to slow cost growth.

via The Global Slowdown in Medical Costs – NYTimes.com.


Is America better at treating cancer than Europe? – Vox

June 26, 2014

Studies show that survival rates for major cancers are better in America than they are in other developed nations. A 2012 study led by the University of Chicago’s Tomas Philipson, for instance, concluded that cancer patients diagnosed between 1995 and 1999 lived  an average of 11.1 years after diagnosis in the United States, but only 9.3 years after diagnosis in Europe. America, in other words, is getting something for all that extra spending.

via Is America better at treating cancer than Europe? – Vox.


The Commonwealth Fund: American Health Care Is Awful

June 23, 2014

The Commonwealth Fund has come out with the latest iteration of its ongoing campaign to inform our political leaders not so much the public that the American health care system sucks.Many of my conservative friends have pushed back, arguing that it is Commonwealth’s study that sucks. David Hogberg argues that it would have been more useful to print the study on toilet paper. Avik Roy says it is bogus to base such conclusions on public opinion surveys. And Philip Klein says Commonwealth cherry-picked what it looked at to derive its pre-determined conclusion.Personally, I agree with all of the above. Yes, Commonwealth’s study is deeply flawed, but so is American health care, which is inefficient, bureaucratic, unaccountable, inconvenient, of questionable quality, and far too expensive.

via The Commonwealth Fund: American Health Care Is Awful.


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