Hits & Misses #2 – 2009/10/16

Life expectancy in Zimbabwe is now just 43 years. The reason: Robert Mugabe.

Dartmouth Atlas results challenged: “We see better survival rates at the hospitals that spend more.”

The case for not mandating motorcycle helmets: Every death of a helmetless motorcyclist prevents or delays as many as 0.33 deaths among individuals on organ transplant waiting lists. (Hat tip to Marginal Revolution.)


Comments (5)

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  1. Ken says:

    Nice piece on motorcycle helmets. Interesting perspective.

  2. Devon Herrick says:

    When I ride my Harley I always worry about drivers talking on their cell phones and texting while driving. Now that every driver has a cell phone capable of texting, I imagine organ donor waiting lists will fall. To reduce the chances of accidentally becoming an organ donor, I wear a helmet that’s so large it makes me look like “Jack” from the Jack in the Box commercials!

  3. Linda Gorman says:

    Rochard A. Cooper of Wharton has already skewered the Dartmouth Atlas claim that more spending gets no increase in quality in the December 2008 Health Affairs.

    The Dartmouth folks assume that Medicare is a good proxy for overall spending. Turns out that isn’t true. In fact, the quality of care seems to increase as the fraction of Medicare spending making up the total decreases.

    The more spending equals no quality improvement is a central plan of the claim that we need to reduce health care spending to eliminate what, it is assumed, is waste. This argument was made when US infant mortality was claimed to be high even though we spent a lot on neonatal ICUs. It proved to be wrong. The argument was made with respect to aggressive treatment of cardiac conditions. It proved to be wrong. It has also been made with respect to cancer care. Wrong again.

    Maybe the third time is the charm?

  4. Larry C. says:

    There is a very real possibility here that the externalities from not wearing a helmet are positive and not negative, as has been traditionally assumed.

  5. Joe S. says:

    Re: Linda’s comment. In addition to Cooper, Saving and Rettenmaier have a similar finding in a study done earlier this year for the NCPA.