Re: Healthcare (was Re: John in Alaska)

Date: Tue Jan 22 2002 - 17:15:45 MST

Here are some old posts by Robin on health care.

 - Shows risk factors for death based on age, sex, race, residence,
   education, income, smoking, drinking, weight and activity. Best
   for survival: stay young(!), be female, make > $30K a year, avoid
   UNDERweight, and get lots of exercise.

 - "Amazingly enough, researchers have yet to measure a significant
   aggregate effect of medicine (doctors, etc.) on health." Reports on
   a 3 year study giving one group 1/3 more medical care than the rest,
   with little benefit. A study of Medicare patients "found that any
   mortality benefit of spending in the last six months of life is less
   than a one part in a thousand." We spend 14% of GDP on health care
   in the U.S. with very little demonstrable benefit.

 - "The US polio death rate was ~1/500 of the total US death rate when
   the vaccine was introduced." (Hence polio vaccine did not make a
   major contribution to longevity.) "I'd guess that Medicine of all
   forms probably contributes less than 1 year to that 40 year increase
   in lifespan. Since sanitation also doesn't seem that important,
   it is a big puzzle why exactly lifespan has increased so." Also
   see which has
   many links on the question "How Much Does Medicine Help Health".
 - More pointers to references on the failure of health care and
   sanitation improvements to explain the 3-fold drop in mortality
   during the 20th century.
 - References a paper estimating about 5 years of lifespan improvement
   due to medicine. Robin questions some of their logic and suggests
   that 2 years is a more realistic value. Either way it is a small
   fraction of the total lifespan increase.
 - Debunks the myth that most health care expenses occur in the final
   year of life. Eliminating expensive high tech treatment at the
   end of life is only estimated to save about 1% in total health care
 - Part of a discussion on the absence of evidence in the third
   world that improving sanitation and access to medicine will improve
   health. Includes pointers to several additional health care posts
   by Robin from 1Q00 in addition to the ones here.


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