Micheal Moore, in his entertaining and heart wrenching dramedy Sicko, mentions the fact that the U.S.A. ranks 37th in the World Health Organization’s health care rankings. Megan McArdle (fka Jane Galt and fka Economist blogger) points to the criticisms of John Stossel ((who you might know from such shows as Good Morning America and 20/20)), but also, she comes up with a pretty good mechanism for ranking health care systems:
[O]ne would hope that the WHO rankings would reflect, to a first approximation, where you’d rather get sick. Does anyone really think that they’d rather be the average consumer of health care in Colombia, than in Columbus, Ohio?
But what about the worst off, you might say? What about them? The WHO table isn’t even a good ranking of where I’d prefer to be poor. I’d far rather be an uninsured day laborer in San Francisco, than in the Dominican Republic. For that matter, I’d rather be uninsured anywhere in the United States than an average citizen in Costa Rica.
This is about right. We should survey experts familiar with various health care systems to ask them where, if they were poor ((by developed world standards… this actually biases the survey against America)), they’d rather be sick. We could be more specific and ask where the experts would like to be treated for various conditions or illnesses.