Are We Getting Our Money’s Worth in Health Care?

This is Gary Becker, writing at his blog:

A study by Samuel Preston and Jessica Ho of the University of Pennsylvania shows that the fraction of men receiving a PSA test, which is a test developed about 25 years ago to detect the presence of prostate cancer, is far higher in the US than in Sweden, France, and other countries that are usually said to have better health delivery systems. Similarly, the fraction of women receiving a mammogram, a test developed about 30 years ago to detect breast cancer, is also much higher in the US. The US also more aggressively treats both these (and other) cancers with surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy than do other countries.

Preston and Hu show that this more aggressive detection and treatment were apparently effective in producing a better bottom line since death rates from breast and prostate cancer declined during the past 20 by much more in the US than in 15 comparison countries of Europe and Japan. US death rate rates from prostate cancer went from about 7% above those of the comparison countries in 1990 to over 20 % below the average of these other countries in recent years, or almost a 30% greater fall in US rates. American death rates from breast cancer declined from about 10% above the average of these other countries in 1990 to slightly lower.

Comments (4)

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  1. Larry C. says:

    Excellent post. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

  2. Ken says:

    Very interesting. This is the sort of thing that is completely ignored by the mainstream media.

  3. Tom H. says:

    Only place you are going to find this kind of information is at this blog.

  4. Sara Mackey says:

    If you really want to get your money’s worth in healthcare, I suggest you visit It’s like Progressive’s rate comparisons… a very good asset to have. It enables you to shop around and thus save money!