Thursday, October 14, 2010

HealthCare in Austria, China & The U.S.














My wife sent me this article about
a high school football team bowing out
of a game because of the risks:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130511940

I have thought for a while that
football contributes in part to the
health problems in the U.S. Think
about how many boys play football
through the high school level, and
how many males get injured in their
football "career." It's a lot. Also consider
that our national sport of football has
very few people "doing" it; generally,
we sit on the couch and "watch it."

This got me thinking about the national
sports of Austria and China. In Austria,
skiing is the national sport; just about
everyone skis. In China, it's martial arts;
most people practice them, but especially
Tai Chi.

There are lots of factors to a nation's health
care profile: wealth of the nation, number
of doctors, lifestyle, sanitation, etc. But when
you look at some statistics, you might be surprised
about the place you live in.

According to NationMaster.com, reviewing
the top obesity countries, you might not be
surprised that the U.S. is number one in the world.
Austria is #24 and China's not on the list.

But you might be surprised that in the category
of "probability of not reaching age 60," you have
lots of the Kyrgyzstans, Uzbekistans; Georgia,
Bulgaria, Latvia, Russia--
and then at #24 is the United States !
Austria is #31; China's not on the list !

In the category of "per capita government
expenditure on health," the U.S. was number
five with $2,368 spent per person per year.
Austria was number 20 at $1,551 p.p.p.y.
And China was #121, at a whopping $88.00
p.p.p.y.

Conversely, in the "private expenditure on health
as a percentage of total expenditure on health,"
(meaning percent you pay for your own healthcare...),
China ranked #26 at 66.3% (meaning they pay
this percentage of their own costs). The U.S.
ranks 51st with 55% out-of-pocket. And Austria
ranks #116 at 30.1%.

In the category of "total population life expectancy,"
Austria is #15 with 79 years. The U.S. is #28
with 77 years. And China ties (for an adjusted spot)
with 71 years.

In the category of
"percentage of life lived in ill-health: female,"
The U.S. is #6.
Austria is #27.
And China is not on the list !

It can be said that the U.S. is the wealthiest
of the three, but the most sedentary. Overall,
we can live a long time, but not in the best
of health. Likely, it can be said that we are
at least as unhealthy as China, even though
we're richer and have better healthcare.

It can be said that Austria is a fairly wealthy
country, and that it's citizens, though they
eat plenty of pastries and cheese, stay pretty
active, live healthy lives, and live a long time.
And Austria picks up most of the bill.

China may have wealth, but its money doesn't
make it into the healthcare system. People
have to take care of themselves. Adjusted to
the fact that they have such a huge population,
and fairly poor sanitation, it can be said that
the Chinese do a much better job taking care
of themselves than most countries. They have
a much higher probability of reaching age 60
than we do; have far fewer females with ill health--
and that's on $88 government dollars per year !

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