Ach, it’s Megan McArdle. Where indeed will that moment be?
Above: The Carrie Meeber of the schmibertarian espadrille
How low can you go?
25 Aug 2007 08:16 pm
In discussing health care, one often hears about how low America ranks on the WHO survey–37th in the world! This is true. But there are a couple of problems with it.
Not yet; wait for it…
First of all, that survey is getting a little elderly; it hails from 2000. In the normal course of economics writing, that’s pretty dated; my editors at The Economist would never have let me discuss health systems using a ranking that outdated. In general, an economics writer has to have a pretty darn good reason for using data more than a couple of years old.
No no, ignore that odd little juggling act. (Apparently, the 2000 US Census might also be quite sketchy as a source for, you know, up-to-the-minute business news.) Wait for it; you know it’s coming…
Also, as John Stossel notes,
[cue laugh track]
many of the measures it uses, such as life expectancy, may be exogenous to the health system:
Now, personally, I don’t really care about equality of distribution per se. I don’t care if Bill Gates gets super-awesome treatment; what I want to know is, are people suffering and dying from lack of care?
Wow. We’re perceiving a pattern here in which she’ll get in trouble for saying something nuts, and will then turn around and completely change her position, pretending with bold alacrity that she was totally saying the same thing all along.
Seb adds: Re: “In general, an economics writer has to have a pretty darn good reason for using data more than a couple of years old.” From The Economist, October 7, 2004:
Indeed, in a 2000 study of the effectiveness of health-care systems around the world, the World Health Organisation ranked America only 37th[.]