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Amenable Mortality
Posted by: Jon Henke on Sunday, January 13, 2008

Coyote Blog's Warren Meyer makes a very compelling case that the research and graphic being touted by Ezra Klein, Paul Krugman, and Kevin Drum does not show what they seem to think it shows. Meyer writes...
The implication is that the US has the worst healthcare system, because, according to this study, the US has the highest rates of "amenable mortality," defined as deaths that are "potentially preventable with timely and effective health care." [...] The wording of the study and the chart as quoted by Mr. Drum seem to imply that someone has gone through a sampling of medical histories to look at deaths to decide if they were preventable deaths. Some studies like this have been conducted. This is not one of them. The authors do not look at any patient data.
[...]
All the study does is show how many people died in each country from this set of diseases and conditions. Period. It doesn't determine if they got care or if they in particular could have been saved, but just that they died of one of the above list of conditions. [...] This makes it entirely possible that this mortality difference is entirely due to lifestyle differences and disease incidence rates rather than the relative merits of health care systems.

Meyer also points out some very significant methodological problems with the survey. Yet, as far as I can tell, none of the Lefties linking and discussing the survey have seen fit to mention those problems or climb down from the overreaches they've made. You would think they might offer a mea culpa, or at least mention to their readers that this may tell us nothing at all about various health care systems.

CORRECTION: I see Ezra has added another post noting Meyer's criticisms, and his own inquiries to the authors of the report. Good on him.
 
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Meyer also points out some very significant methodological problems with the survey. Yet, as far as I can tell, none of the Lefties linking and discussing the survey have seen fit to mention those problems or climb down from the overreaches they’ve made. You would think they might offer a mea culpa, or at least mention to their readers that this may tell us nothing at all about various health care systems.
Why? They’ll stand by flawed research on [INSERT SUBJECT HERE] as long as it helps drive their agenda- in this case presumably, agitating for universal healthcare.

How deafening was the silence over the Lancet study?

 
Written By: shark
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