Here is Ezra Klein, here is Paul Krugman on the same. If we put the partisanship aside, and view this as raw statistics, what lessons can be drawn? The biggest surprise is Japan — a country whose health care institutions are not generally popular — at number two. Spain and Italy and #4 and #5 are less extreme examples of the same point. Do the Germans and Danes really kill so many extra people through their health care systems? Would you really rather get sick in Greece?
Nothing in this post is intended as apology for the United States health care system, but if we are going to look at the numbers let’s consider all of them. If there is any lesson about the French — who are a clear first — it is that they do something right for health care apart from having so much government involvement. What might that be? What do we learn about what makes for a good health care system? Is there a correlation between health care performance and policy? I don’t see it, maybe there is one, but I’m wondering if people are willing to draw lessons from this diagram consistently or not.
I might add I find it easy to believe that American health care institutions make a disproportionate share of stupid errors, or are responsible for lots of patient mistreatments, so I am not trying to undo our presence on the right hand side of this graph. I do, however, walk away suspicious of the concept of "amenable" mortality.
Addendum: It’s much worse than I thought, read this, which includes a free link to the supposedly gated study.
Second addendum: Out there on the mea culpa watch, or not, here is DSquared.