Great Question – Part 2

August 11, 2009

As a reminder, the great question is, “How does Germany spend less on health care and have a longer life expectancy?”

Please read this timely post from Marginal Revolution.  If you have more time, read the full paper (linked on MR).  It dives into life expectancy statistics and presents potential reasons for country-level life expectancy differences that are not associated with health care.

Further,  the authors of the paper make direct country-level comparisons of statistics that are more closely associated with the quality of health care, things like the effectiveness of screening for cancer, cancer survival rates and so on, the type of statistics that you yourself might be interested in if you need treatment for a specific ailment.

This leads to one possible answer to the great question, “How does Germany spend less on health care and have longer life expectancy?”  Perhaps the cause and effect relationship between health care quality and life expectancy isn’t very strong and other factors are more important.

Unfortunately, to be fair, that might be good news for those who believe government health care will lower quality since lower quality health care may not lower life expectancy.  Although, that probably won’t give much comfort to those with specific ailments.

This is just one possible answer to this great question.  I will explore more in future posts.


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