Yet another weird SF fan

I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

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Yet another weird SF fan

Sunday, July 31, 2005

A Common Claim on Health Care

I have seen a claim that lack of private health insurance has caused an excess death rate of 18,000 lives per year among those not privately insured. This is about 5% of the expected death rate for 43,000,000 people. A 5% difference is well within the amount that can be easily fudged, especially when dealing with an uncontrolled study with two highly disparate populations. Even environmentalists are unlikely to go to the media with a study showing a 5% difference in death rates unless radioactivity is involved.

I must admit that, when we look at hospitalized patients, e.g., for car crashes, publicly-insured patients fare less well than privately-insured patients. On the other hand, that indicates that public insurance is probably not the way to go.

The claim that there should be a little more public spending on preventive care sounds plausible. Using that as an excuse to impose a single-payer system is an example of “bait and switch.”

Addendum: There's another analysis here.


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