Bonus Healthcare Wonkery

BONUS HEALTHCARE WONKERY….Ezra Klein has some more healthcare wonkery for you over at his place. But, you know, it’s good healthcare wonkery. International comparisons and all that.

One point I’d make about this stuff, though, is that if you compare any two healthcare systems, both of them will have pros and cons. Waiting times for hip replacements are longer in Canada than the U.S. Prostate cancer treatment is worse in Germany. Sweden doesn’t have as many MRI machines. Etc.

Now, some of these things may be debatable. Some may not matter as much as you think. Some may be urban legends.

But some of them are true. No healthcare system is perfect. Our argument isn’t (or shouldn’t be) that the French or the Japanese or the Swedes have discovered healthcare nirvana, only that, overall, their systems produce outcomes as good or better than ours at a lower cost. I know it’s hard to stick to that argument when conservatives are screeching about hip replacement queues in Ontario, but it’s probably a mug’s game to take them on on their own turf. Instead, we should relentlessly stick to pointing out how bad our system is and how much better and cheaper it could be if we replaced it with something more sensible. Spending our time defending Canada is just playing into their hands.

And before anyone points out that I don’t always take my own advice on this issue, I know. But it’s good advice anyway.

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