American Exceptionalism Strikes Again

This chart from National Geographic combines several data sets which require a little bit of puzzling out, but which come together in one whopper of an illustration.

The parameters are:

Cost per capita – lefthand scale, and lifespan — righthand scale, which together give a sloped line for each nation showing dollars per year of lifespan.

Thickness of each nation’s line indicates number of doctor’s visits per year.

Line colour indicates whether the nation has universal health coverage (blue) or not (red.) There are only two red lines — Mexico and the USA.

Looking at these, you would hope to achieve a low lefthand starting point (low cost), a high righthand point (high longevity), and a thick line (lots of doctor visits.)

The USA line looks like it was drawn by someone who got the instructions backwards — a very high lefthand starting point (huge cost), a mediocre righthand point (middlin’ longevity), and a hairlike line thickness (scanty doctor visits, less than 4 per year.)

Who gets the healthcare bargain on this chart? Japan is the most striking, with the highest lifespan (almost 83 years), and a visit a month or more to the doctor, at a cost of about $2,600 per capita — one-third the US cost.

Fifteen of the 21 nations shown achieve longer lifespans than the USA, at roughly half the US price.

Nuts, just nuts.

h/t to “fatster” in the comments over on Emptywheel.

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