A strong case for increased spending on public health. Some vigorous dispute over the data in this figure, especially the 10% number in “what makes use healthy”. The actual metric being used is not fully clear; is it what makes us healthy or what makes us sick? Years of potential life lost (YPLL) averted?
Skeptics have cited work by David Cutler et al (NEJM 2006) and Bunker (Int J Epi 2001) that gains in life expectancy since 1950 are thought to be about 50% due to medical care. But Bunker cautions us that
The data on which the estimates are based are often incomplete, and the estimates are approximations. They are more than speculative and less than precise.
Cutler also notes in another paper:
access to health care cannot explain everything. As several studies show, … the incidence of adverse health conditions is higher among those of lower rank or lower education, even before the health care system has become involved. Moreover, some large changes in access to health care have had only minor effects on health gradients. The introduction of Medicare in 1965 had no clear effects on the mortality of the elderly (Finkelstein and McKnight, 2005), and no effect on U.S. relative to British mortality rates for the relevant age groups. [J Econ Persp 2006]
(via Andrew Sullivan)