Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Preston and Ho on U.S. mortality and health care

The Times just wrote up a summary of a recent NBER working paper by Sam Preston and Jessica Ho that compares mortality and life expectancy in the U.S. to their levels in other industrialized countries. In particular, the authors examine progress against mortality from (breast and prostate) cancers that are not associated with behavioral factors. They find the U.S. has made better progress against those causes of death than have other countries, progress that can only be attributed to the quality of the health care delivery system. Their conclusion is that our health care system on average produces high quality care, as measured by preventable mortality.