As the healthcare debate rages on, I'm happy to see a statistical analysis of some basic health care information. Let's think about `health care quality' versus `health care cost.' On one hand, health care cost is a pretty easy number to arrive at since, after all, people track how much is spent on health care. On the other hand, health care quality is not so easy to define. This analysis, which I originally found here, produces the plot seen below. The analysis does what I would do to determine a value for health care quality. It performs a principal components analysis on many health care variables, e.g. number of doctors, number of mri machines, etc. The first principal component score provides a measure of health care quality. It seems immediately clear from this figure that the US is wasting a lot of money relative to the health care it is actually providing. My only caveat here is that some basic measures were not included in the principal components analysis including life expectancy and infant mortality among others.

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12 January 2010