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 http://hanson.gmu.edu/EC496/Sources/sources.html 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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