Posted by: brittanyng | June 10, 2010

Does wealth spent on health equal health?

In our discussions of how to strengthen health systems, I find it fascinating to consider all the different health systems there are in the world, with equally diverse health care systems.  With the recent debates and changes in the United State’s health care, we have had many opportunities to consider what other methods are used by other countries and their overall quality.

In a recent class lecture, Dr. Gordon Lindsay of BYU brought up some excellent points about our measure of health and how economics plays a role in it.  First of all, it is important to realize that America is by far the nation that spends the most on health care ($6,719 total expenditures PPP). 

For expending so much on our health care, how would our life expectancy then compare with other countries?  If wealth spent on health care systems really did mean better health, then we could conclude that Americans would have the longest life expectancy.  According to the CIA‘s World Factbook, the U.S. is ranked at 49th. 

I know there are more factors that play a part in determining the health of a nation, however, I agree with Dr. Lindsay that more is involved in health care than how much we pay for it.  By looking around us at other nations and their health care systems, and by re evaluating our health systems, we can improve and strengthen our own health system.



  1. I love listening to people talk about how superior our health care is….but don’t realize that our life expectancy is not the longest internationally. There is apparently a lot more to health than just paying the most for health care.

    Sir Michael Marmot has done fascinating research regarding health disparities and the social gradient with health for developed countries.

  2. I feel the same way.There is a lot more involved in health care than we think. It is not just the money that matters. Something needs to change in the way that we deal with the health care system in the United States.

  3. So true. Money need to be spent wisely, not just spent, to see results. Health care is so broad and can be addressed at so many different angles. I think the good intentions exist in the U.S., but it needs to be more focused on prevention rather than treatment.

  4. You bring up some great points and your ideas seem to resonate with a lot of really great minds. However, I am not sure if I agree with your statement that better health care equals longer life. I guess that is the major difference between us and those nations that have longer average life spans. We might have a better health care system based on complex definitions but what they have is more important; many of these countries, I’ve seen in personally in Switzerland and Germany, have a social structure that supports health from the family out. Health has become less important to us socially than it is to those in these other countries. We are simply less active than these other countries. We play lazy sports. We eat lazy food. Very few people have a garden. And the list goes on. There is not a causal relationship between health care and health. If I can be that bold?

    • yes, Jon, you can be that bold. Good point!

      • I’m glad you could understand what I had to say. I reread my comment and…well my word choice is not the most efficacious. 8)

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    what all is required to get set up? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost
    a pretty penny? I’m not very web savvy so I’m not 100% positive.
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