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Dr. Taylor Dickinson's articles and essays discussing his ideas on tax-preserved Universal healthcare...

Socioeconomic Anomalies

Posted: Sat, Sep 27, 2008

By Taylor Dickinson

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An article in the New England Journal of Medicine examined socioeconomic inequalities in health in a number of European countries. The authors identified several socioeconomic anomalies that were not easily explained within the context of their study. They are presented below with this author's comments.

  1. “The smallest inequalities (in the rate of death…according to education level) for both men and women are found in the Basque country.” This population has remained isolated and relatively undisturbed for several millenniums. It suggests a confounding role of genetics in the interpretation of population based health studies. The degree of homogeneity in populations may skew the results.

  2. “The risk of death according to class in Nordic countries is greater than that in southern Europe, despite welfare policies in the north… that are aimed at reducing socioeconomic differences .” This suggests that politically induced economic solutions are not primary determinants of healthcare delivery outcomes.

  3. Indeed the editorial comments underscore "the need to focus on non-healthcare interventions...". "In the Acheson report.... only three of 39 policy strategies are based on traditional medical care." In developing public policy for this nations health it is critical to recognize that non-healthcare measures are largely Public Health functions and should be distinguished from the delivery of medical care. Good Public Health should not substitute for life long access to current medical science.

Reform in this country should be cautioned by these anomalies.

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