August 20, 2008
Counting Kids

Kathleen M. gets a no-prize that must be rocked to sleep carefully for bringing us a different look at infant mortality rates and what they really mean about the quality of health care. Hint: people who tout them as a boost to socialized medicine "managed health care" are selling something.

Posted by scott at August 20, 2008 10:45 AM

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Absolutely. We here in the U.S. include any child born, as in expelled from the birth canal, in our overall counts. Stillbirths are also figured into a separate column, with those over 5 months gestational age eligible for names and special burial/body disposal rights. (The worst part of working Labor & Delivery)

We go to great lengths to include babies in our counts because our survival rates continue to grow. We point to the miracle preemies (those 26 weekers) with pride, although we still don't know how they'll be long term. We're eager to count every head, though.

Thanks for pointing that article out for me. Reminds me of another point for an article I'm writing.

Posted by: Da Goddess on August 20, 2008 11:52 AM

This actually comes up in different sources. Would be great to actually have the doc's source data out there the next time someone tries to use that stat.

However, all that'll do is switch the argument to something else. Death rates in general will be next (which absolutely ignores things like "lifestyles" and other influencers), then the argument proceeds to a moral one.

Unfortunately, that also fails when looked at in the big picture as the rest of the world's improving health care comes due to our research - which is done because this is still a highly lucrative field for funding. When you win, you win BIG. Of course, those I argue with tend to ignore that or just assume that the gov't will do a better job than private industry. Laughable, but they seem to honestly believe people will do the research and invest the millions because they're nice.


Posted by: ronaprhys on August 20, 2008 12:15 PM

The fun part about "UHC" arguments is that the USA has already got UHC. Medicare handles old people, Medicaid handles poor ones, and those are the two segments of society least able to cover their own expenses.

Posted by: DensityDuck on August 20, 2008 12:41 PM

Yes it does. Through in that public and non-profit hospitals are required to treat anyone walking through the door complimenting free clinics offered by most counties/cities and you've got UHC. However, people are still making a profit and that's got to go. We simply can't have people making a profit. It's unAmerican.

Posted by: ronaprhys on August 20, 2008 01:54 PM
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