A recent Bloomberg article ranked the U.S. health care system 46 out of 48 in efficiency based in part on life expectancy statistics. But Matthew Yglesias at Slate explains that life expectancy is a poor measure of a health care system’s performance:
If we raised the taxes on alcohol and gasoline and then spent all the revenue on a pointless bridge in Alaska, American life expectancy would go up. Not because our health care system would become more efficient, but because fewer people would die in car wrecks and murders. And as it happens, raising those taxes would be a good idea. Fewer people would die in car wrecks and murders!