Health care: We're number 17!

It's always fascinating to see yourself through other people's eyes. Courtesy of Austin Frakt at the Incidental Economist blog, here's a link to the latest report card by the Conference Board of Canada on the health status of our neighbor to the north and 16 of its peer countries, based on data collected by the OECD.

"They score themselves a B," Frakt says of Canada. "Guess which country is at the bottom of the list?"

Canada health2012RC

You can find details here from the report, which tries to address the question of why Canada, which is immensely proud of its health-care system, only gets a B and lands in the middle of the pack on this ranking of wealthy nations. Yes, "wait times for some health care diagnostics and treatments" is cited as one potential source of drag - an acknowledgment sure to cheer diehard opponents of changing the U.S. system, in which the well-insured and affluent can get costly diagnostic tests and treatments more swiftly. On the other hand, the United States leads all nations in what we pay for our health care, and we earn a D, with especially low marks for infant mortality and life expectancy. If only we could remove the poor and uninsured from the data....

One common thread: It appears both countries have a touch of Lake Woebegone Syndrome. We may not be the healthiest countries around, but we both earn A's for "self-reported health status."

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