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  1. If anybody actually wants to read the report, it can be accessed here. The XXFactor link leads to a paywall. I hate paywalls.

    It is comforting, I suppose, that more economists are discovering that a lack of universal access to healthcare services and support has a negative effect on mortality.

    The authors are careful to point out that while the “disadvantage” inherent to lower income populations increases the risk of postneonatal (1 month to 1 year) mortality, “variation in postneonatal mortality rates across areas does not appear to be due to differences in income per se…increasing resources per se does not have detectable effects on infant mortality in the United States.” Rather, the data employed by the authors suggests that it is a lack of access to postneonatal support and services. like those available in Finland and Austria, that contributes more to the postneonatal “mortality gap” (another gap!) between the US and those two other nations. They also conclude…bless their hearts…that’s it’s worth the investment…at least $7,000 dollars per infant…to adopt a national policy providing such universal access.

    Finland has a publicly funded universal healthcare system that employs “user fees”, i.e., out of pocket expenses. (Finland is looking at ways to eliminate barriers to access created by user fees.)

    Austria has a universal two-tier healthcare system, (available to any EU citizen), offering publicly funded healthcare as well as a “private option” to purchase supplemental (“comfort class”) health insurance from the private sector, or to purchase all health insurance from the private sector.

    Healthcare expenditures, both public and private, per capita and as a percent of GDP, are significantly lower in Finland and Austria.

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