Showing posts with label OECD. Show all posts
Showing posts with label OECD. Show all posts

Nov 21, 2011

A Better Life

The new (June 2011) 'OECD Health Data 2011' report shows the latest insights in health spending costs. Here are some results for the main OECD countries:

Health Costs

Total health spending accounted on average for 9.5% of the GDP for all OECD countries (main countries: 9.8%).

Public health is  a substantial  part  of  health  funding  in  all  OECD  countries.

Control Health Costs
Key question is: will relative 'big rising spenders' like The Netherlands and the U.S., be able to control their health costs in the near future?

Besides the fact that health costs undoubtedly rise sharply with age, the bulk of 'annual health spending growth' depends mainly on overall population growth, increases in the health prices and the introduction of new high-cost medical products and treatments used by all age groups. 

In controlling health costs, the most difficult an challenging question is in fact:

What are we trying to maximize
with the help of health investment costs?

Our first answer could be : Maximize Health.

In practice we (countries in the world) haven't explicitly defined what we try to maximize... Unfortunately discussing health costs without a clear goal, is an endless road, leading nowhere.... A Health Mission Impossible.....

On top of, 'Health'  is - at its best - a non defined subjective perception.....
Let's dive deeper on this theme of perception. Can we grasp it?

Health Perception
As in every corner of (your) life

Perception = Reality

Therefore let's take a look at how health is perceived by people in different countries. For a global 'health perception picture' we have to fall back on self-reported health status  figures of around 2006-2007:

As is clear Canada and the U.S. are clear 'feeling healthy' champions, with Japan as poorest performer.

Quality and Quantity of Life
To examine whether the self-reported health status indicator  (representing the quality of life) also indicates a 'longer life expectancy' (representing the quantity of life),  here is the 'life expectancy indicator'.

Surprisingly the results are - at first sight - counter intuitive:
  • Japan, with the poorest health perception, scores best in longevity
  • The U.S.,  with the almost best health perception, scores worst in longevity

'Good health' and  'life expectancy' 
It is known that elderly people report a less than average good healthy condition.

Unfortunately, as the next diagram indicates, there's no convincing direct relationship between 'perceived good health' and  'life expectancy' or 'median age' (as explaining variables) :

Reference: Japan Explained?
To find  out 'what drives a health perception', we may examine one of the rare underpinned studies : "The Surveys on the Japanese National Character".

First of all there's a relationship between Economy and Health:

Though declining, more than 50% of all respondents in this survey say that "people's health will get worse".

What's even of more concern, is that younger people are experiencing an increasing feeling of nervousness during the last decades.

This survey supports the idea that perceptions of 'health' and 'happiness' are more or less embedded in a nations' culture and not related to the investments in health.

Find out more on what's going on in Japan beneath the surface on:
Assessment of the Japanese Economy

It's all about Happiness

What remains is that it's all about happiness in life....
And of course happiness and good health are 'somewhat' and 'somehow' related

Maximizing or optimizing Health in on basis of 'health investments' (health costs) is tricky business. Although Happiness and Health Perception are related, they both don't relate to health investments.

The maximum price for 'good health' is subjective. Governments will have to border the maximum public financed costs of health on basis of objective goals of health condition (eg. max % obesity, BMI, etc) in relation to what's "bearable" in terms of costs in relation to the strength of their national economy.

Let's conclude with some positive news...

Your Better Life Index
I would like to invite you to take part in the Your Better Life Index.

'Your Better Life Index' was designed as s an interactive tool that allows you to see how countries perform according to the importance you give to each of 11 topics – like education, housing, environment, and so on – that contribute to well-being in OECD countries. Your Better Life Index allows you to put different weights on each of the topics, and thus to decide for yourself what contributes most to well-being.

It is a pioneering, interactive tool combining OECD substance with modern
technology in order to educate, promote dialogue and encourage consensus on the balance between societal and economic well-being. Your Better Life Index will be maintained on an ongoing basis.

Here's MY Better life index as an eample.

Live a healthy and - above all - happy life..... A Better life!

- OECD Health Data 2011 How Does the Netherlands Compare?
- OECD Health Data 2011 
- Health Self-Reported Health Status 
- Assessment of the Japanese Economy: A Continuing Downward Trend
- Why Does U.S. Health Care Cost So Much? ( An Aging Population Isn’t the Reason)
- The Surveys on the Japanese National Character

- Does Medicare Work Better Than Private Insurance?
- Balancing Affordability and Value: The Universal Challenge in Health Care Delivery

- Spreadsheet with all health data of this blog