Jason Kander is an award-winning author and journalist who wrote a New York Times Best-seller called “The Unwinding: The History of the New Deal.” As he told it, his book describes the history of the New Deal from the 1930s through the 1960s. It is a fascinating and inspiring read that I highly recommend.
If you are looking for an up-to-date resource on health care, this is a good place to start. The following is a list of some of the most important points Kander covers in the book.
In the book, Kander cites a study that concludes that the average American has a lifetime risk of death in excess of that of the Dutch, who have less than half that. Kander refers to this as the “Dutch Disease” and argues that we need to take steps to reduce it.
I think the Dutch Disease is fairly well understood, but I think it’s hard to quantify and hard to quantify when it comes to risk. I think it’s best to look at the population’s actual risk of death. An estimate of the risk of death that is based on a few variables, like age, sex, and race, is unlikely to be useful in making sound decisions on how to allocate resources.
The one thing that can help measure the risk of death is life expectancy. When life expectancy for a population is known, it can be used to measure risk of death. The most obvious risk factor in this equation is that a population that is dying at a certain age will be far more likely to die later than one that is still young.
Life expectancy is one of the best measures of the risk of death, but it is certainly not the only one. If you want to compare the risks of death for two populations based on other risk factors like gender or age, you’d have to go with “life expectancy,” but it can be misleading.
This is a problem that economists have come to recognize as well. Some people prefer to lump all premature deaths together as simply “death.” While this is a reasonable choice, it can also lead to misleading conclusions. Instead of thinking of premature death as something that occurs as a result of disease or trauma, it can be seen as a natural process that is inevitable and that the only way to stop it is to treat the disease or trauma and prolong life.
This is in contrast to the standard, commonly-held wisdom that treating disease with life-extending medication is the only way to prevent premature death. The conventional wisdom holds that early detection and treatment of disease is the most effective way to prevent premature death. This is especially true for medical conditions such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and infections, but it’s also true for other life-threatening conditions as well.
So, in general, if a medical professional says “I need to spend the next five years of my life treating people with cancer” and that person does it, then you’d say “good for him.” However there is a small but significant minority of doctors who believe that the best way to prevent more people from dying prematurely is to treat diseases with medicine that also prolongs life.
The problem is that medicine, unlike other forms of technology, is a subject that has a bad reputation. You can’t just point to a book and say, “This is the best medicine.” You need evidence. Just like you can’t just point to a movie and say, “This is the best comedy.” You need evidence.