Advocates of government-run health care love to quote studies based on World Health Organization statistics. However, they have been strangely silent on a recent study discussed in this piece by Deroy Murdock:

Low-quality, taxpayer-funded health care killed more than 17,000 Britons in 2004, according to the TaxPayers’ Alliance in London.

And that compares very badly to other European countries whose systems, not coincidentally, are more market-oriented:

The TPA examined the World Health Organization’s data to contrast the NHS with the Dutch, French, German and Spanish health systems, which are less government-dominated.

I have, of course, criticized excessive reliance on WHO statistics. But advocates of government-run health care swear by these data. Thus, the TPA study hangs them by their own petard:

While those four countries averaged a 106.6 amenable mortality rate, Britain was almost 29 percent deadlier, with its rate of 135.3.

Regardless of whether one takes WHO data seriously, it’s pretty clear that Perfidious Albion is (with apologies to Yeats) no country for sick men.

Comments 5

  1. Marc Brown wrote:

    That data is out of date. The latest Commonwealth Fund amenable mortality data puts the UK rate at 103, still behind the others but of course ahead of the worst performer of all – the US. It is hardly surprising that countries with worse inequality, such as the UK, have worse rates, and that the most unequal country has the worst rate of all.

    Posted 24 Feb 2008 at 1:18 pm
  2. Ian Furst wrote:

    For a comparision I’d suggest that people look to ICES webpage. It has extensive data for Ontario, Canada. It covers mortality, wait times, etc…. and is arm-length removed from the government. I’ve worked with one of the statistician’s there and they have a huge brain-trust with data that is well organized. Wait Times Blog

    Posted 24 Feb 2008 at 5:06 pm
  3. drmatt wrote:

    Strange they didn’t include the US in the piece…….oh, that is because it would undermine thier premise, the US though spending twice as much per person came up to 110, wow, I guess we shouldnt bother to try to improve on that.

    Posted 25 Feb 2008 at 6:52 am
  4. Catron wrote:

    “I guess we shouldnt bother to try to improve on that.”

    We should indeed try to improve on the performance of U.S. health care.

    The point of the article, though, was to show that the NHS is doing poorly compared with other European nations that have been experimenting with market-based reforms. Thus, the way to improve our system would be to reduce government meddling in the health care and insurance sectors of our economy.

    I think that’s what Murdock is getting at.

    Posted 25 Feb 2008 at 7:15 am
  5. drmatt wrote:

    “Before American voters embrace either Hillary Clinton’s universal-health scheme or Barack Obama’s single-payer proposal, they should consider the avoidable deaths that plague the mother of all state-run medical programs”
    I see where he is comming from, my point is that the numbers in britain would be an improvement over ours, It is weird, do you look at any improvement over what you currently have and say, “boy, we shouldnt do it that way” ?????


    Posted 25 Feb 2008 at 7:49 am

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