View Full Version : Interesting health care graphic

Flying Orca
01-05-2010, 09:33 AM
Just for Keith, per capita healthcare spending vs. life expectancy at birth:


Keith Wilson
01-05-2010, 09:43 AM
Oh, very nice. Note how the average number of doctor visits per year doesn't seem to correlate with longevity at all.

01-05-2010, 09:45 AM
oh hell, I don't have anything to say

Flying Orca
01-05-2010, 09:46 AM
Correlates with a positive slope, though.

01-05-2010, 10:39 AM
Japanese go to the doctor once a month??

01-05-2010, 10:44 AM
i think i'll spray paint my guitar , see if that helps

Nicholas Carey
01-05-2010, 11:53 AM

One of these things is not like the others,
One of these things just doesn't belong,
Can you tell which thing is not like the others
By the time I finish my song?

Did you guess which thing was not like the others?
Did you guess which thing just doesn't belong?
If you guessed this one is not like the others,
Then you're absolutely...right!


Nicholas Carey
01-05-2010, 12:11 PM
FWIW, Edward Tufte (http://www.woodenboat.com/forum/www.edwardtufte.com/) (The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, "PowerPoint Is Evil (http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/11.09/ppt2.html), et al) would be proud.

Keith Wilson
01-05-2010, 12:35 PM
Edward Tufte is a God.

01-05-2010, 12:42 PM
Here is another, presenting the same data (I think) in a different format.


Courtesy of Nate Silver at fivethirtyeight.com

No matter how you look at it, the U.S. is an outlier.

Keith Wilson
01-05-2010, 12:51 PM
Cool! The area of the circle is what? Average number of doctor visits per year? We sure do spend way too much money on heath care. There's a right-wing argument that the problem is overutilization of health care because of too much insurance coverage; "people going to the doctor for very little sniffle because they don't have to pay", with the remedy being (as for everything) a more market-based approach; HSAs and catastrophic insurance coverage only. This completely blows that argument out of the water.

01-05-2010, 01:17 PM
an outlier you say fer gosh sakes , appears to be 'weighted' some how

i'm going out on a limb and guess it has to do with personal income

Keith Wilson
01-05-2010, 01:23 PM
No, when you figure heath care spending as a percent of GDP or average income, the US is every bit as much an outlier. Our system is just extremely expensive for what we get.

01-05-2010, 01:48 PM
keith , you do realize there are literally 10's of millions of us citizens who can't afford food , don't you ?

Keith Wilson
01-05-2010, 01:57 PM
Your point is?

John Smith
01-05-2010, 02:12 PM
i think i'll spray paint my guitar , see if that helps
Depends on the color.

Ross M
01-05-2010, 02:51 PM
Great graphic, Orca. Thanks for presenting it.

Edward Tufte is a God.

I don't think that this is an overstatement. Study (and weak emulation) of his work certainly put a knee in my professional development curve. And I have noticed that the developers of the MS Excel have adopted his "least ink" strategy, with great results.

My favorite Tufte graphic, which I believe would have almost certainly prevented the final launch of Challenger:


Nicholas Carey
01-05-2010, 04:12 PM
No, when you figure heath care spending as a percent of GDP or average income, the US is every bit as much an outlier. Our system is just extremely expensive for what we get.And no matter how you slice it, if you compare per-capita spending to just about any single factor metric that could be reasonably construed as related to public health -- infant mortality rate, adult mortality rate, cardiovascular disease rate, cancer mortality rate, whatever -- the United States consistently rates lower than most other 1st-world countries and oftern rates lower than many 3rd world countries.

WHOSIS -- the World Health Organization's Statistical Information System will allow you to slice/dice to your heart's content.


WHOSIS allows you to look at per-capita health expenditures in a number of different ways, including one that I think is better way of looking at things, with the data normed in terms of present purchasing power in US$. Looked at in that way, there is one other country that spends more on health care than the United States: Monaco.


Here's some rankings for the United States (out of 211 countries reported, using the latest data available for each country):

43rd in order of "adult mortality rate" (annual number of deaths per 1000 population, aged 15-60).
101st, in order of "age standardized cancer mortality rate" (annual deaths per 100,000 population).
27th, in order of "age standardized cardiovascular disease mortality rate" (annual deaths per 100,000 population).
28th, in order of "HALE (Healthy Life Expectancy at Birth)"
39th, in order of "Infant Mortality Rate" (per 1,000 live births).
33rd, in order of "Life Expectancy at Birth".
35th, in order of "Neonatal Mortality Rate" (deaths per 1,000 live births).
39th, in order of "Under-5 Mortality Rate" (probability of dying by age 5, per 1,000 live births, both sexes).

We spend more (far more) on health care expenditures than just about any other country on the planet and get lousy results for it. Per-capita, we spend about 20x as much as Cuba does on healthcare and get results that are in many ways comparable.

01-05-2010, 05:09 PM
I feel average.

I feel slightly above average , but acceptable .

George Ray
01-05-2010, 05:10 PM

About this talk

Talking at the US State Department this summer, Hans Rosling uses his fascinating data-bubble software to burst myths about the developing world. Look for new analysis on China and the post-bailout world, mixed with classic data shows.

About Hans Rosling

As a doctor and researcher, Hans Rosling identified a new paralytic disease induced by hunger in rural Africa. Now he looks at the bigger picture of social and economic development with his…

01-05-2010, 10:24 PM
^ Most succinct. BTW the best "bang for the buck" appears to come from community based medical facilities/ health workers rather than "high tech" , viz Fred Hollows Foundation. As he said, "a doctor is a highly trained mechanic, nothing more and nothing less".