Monday, December 10, 2012

The Best Health Care System in the World

Every once in a while I light on Fareed Zakaria, GPS.  As is often the case, I don't find him the best tracking system.  Last night, he delved into health care, claiming that the US still holds the edge in medical technology innovation, and that Scandanavian countries "ride on the back" of America.  I'm not exactly sure what he meant by this, other than Scandanavian countries wouldn't be providing their fantastic health care without American innovation.

It struck me as a rather lame argument, especially when reading this assessment of the FDA, which often lags behind in approving innovative drugs that have profound consequences on health care.  We also know that countries like Japan, which don't have hang ups with stem cell research, have clearly seized the advantage in this regard, thanks to the ban the Bush administration placed on stem cell research for the better part of a decade.

It is certainly true that the US spends more on health care per capita than any other country in the world.  Yet, according to the World Health Organization, it doesn't have much to show for it.  WHO consistently ranks the US far down the list of countries when it comes to providing quality health care. Yet, it seems many Americans still have this illusion that the United States has the best health care system in the world.  PBS once again tried to put American health care in perspective.

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