If I Wanted To Live Like A European, I’d Move To Europe

How do you suppose it is that European countries can afford to provide health care to their citizens at levels that their governments consider acceptable?

Consider this tidbit from “The Threat to Medical Innovation,” appearing in The American Spectator.

…Between 1969 and 2008, 57 of the 97 Nobel Prizes in medicine and physiology — or nearly 60 percent — were awarded to people who did their research in the U.S., and nine of the top 10 medical innovations between 1975 and 2000 were developed here.

Aside from rationing care, might it be that they’re taking advantage of U.S. medical innovations while scorning us as heartless and unenlightened for not socializing our own health care system? (Much like they rely on a strong US Military in lieu of fielding one themselves, then scorn us as uncivilized brutes?) I wonder how they’ll get along if the U.S. adopts an innovation-killing, European-style health care system?

And while I’m thinking about Europe, let’s get over the notion that it can be proven that Europe’s health care is somehow equal or even superior to what we have in the U.S. based on infant mortality rates. Ann Coulter sums it up nicely.

One factor contributing to the U.S.’ infant mortality rate is that blacks have intractably high infant mortality rates — irrespective of age, education, socioeconomic status and so on. No one knows why.

Neither medical care nor discrimination can explain it: Hispanics in the U.S. have lower infant mortality rates than either blacks or whites. Give Switzerland or Japan our ethnically diverse population and see how they stack up on infant mortality rates.

Even with a higher-risk population, the alleged differences in infant mortality are negligible. We’re talking about seven infant deaths per 1,000 live births in the U.S. compared to 5 deaths per 1,000 for Britain and Canada. This is a rounding error — perhaps literally when you consider that the U.S. tabulates every birth, even in poor, small and remote areas, while other countries are not always so meticulous.

But the international comparisons in “infant mortality” rates aren’t comparing the same thing, anyway. We also count every baby who shows any sign of life, irrespective of size or weight at birth.

By contrast, in much of Europe, babies born before 26 weeks’ gestation are not considered “live births.” Switzerland only counts babies who are at least 30 centimeters long (11.8 inches) as being born alive. In Canada, Austria and Germany, only babies weighing at least a pound are considered live births.

Snip…

By excluding the little guys, these countries have simply redefined about one-third of what we call “infant deaths” in America as “miscarriages.”

Moreover, many industrialized nations, such as France, Hong Kong and Japan — the infant mortality champion — don’t count infant deaths that occur in the 24 hours after birth. Almost half of infant deaths in the U.S. occur in the first day.

I don’t have anything against Europe – I’d like to visit there someday – or Europeans (except the ones who look down their noses at us) but honestly, but I don’t want to live there. That’s mainly because I’m rather partial to the way we do things here, not because I think we’re perfect, but because we’ve provided the most opportunity to more people to control their own lives than any other civilization in the history of this planet we call home. That doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement, I’d just like to see those improvements come within the boundaries set forth in our Constitution and based on the free-enterprise system that has brought us so far.

Update 1: Dan Riehl has been thinking about this, too.

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1 Comment

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One response to “If I Wanted To Live Like A European, I’d Move To Europe

  1. The numbers for life expectency is also skewed. Those numbers include car accidents and gunshot victims. The US has a much higher per capita rate of both that it makes it seem that our life expectency is lower. If you remove those two incidents, our life expectency is actually higher. The WHO is a very liberal organization that tends to be a little anti-US, much like the UN.

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