An international study (summary below) reported in Lancet links such policies with lower infant mortality and old-age excess mortality. Public health statistics are not my forte but the infant mortality claim is an old chestnut. The rate depends on what you count. The USA counts very premature births. Other countries do not. The full original article is here. I could find no discussion in it of the critical question of the criteria used in assessing rate of infant mortality — which shows a complete ignorance of the existing literature on the question. Most unscholarly! I also note that they found important similarities between Britain and the USA — despite the very different health systems in those countries — which suggests genetic and cultural factors as being involved rather than the health system. But that too is glided over in the article. The article is garbage.
It should be noted that British medical journals operate under very heavy Leftist influence so their intellectual and scholarly standards are in consequence often woeful (See many examples dissected in FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC). Their standards are what you would expect of people who believe that “There is no such thing as right and wrong”. And when politics gets involved their standards are even more woeful. They should therefore normally be ignored when they comment on politically relevant issues. Lancet even tried to intervene in the Iraq war, using VERY suspect data!
Advanced nations with more generous welfare programs for families and pensioners tend to have lower infant mortality rates and old-age excess mortality rates, according to an article published in the Nov. 8 issue of The Lancet.
Olle Lundberg, Ph.D., of Stockholm University/Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, and colleagues studied the association between health outcomes and variations in family and pension policies in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The researchers found that lower infant mortality rates were associated with increased generosity in family policies that support dual-earner families but not in policies that support more traditional families with gainfully employed fathers and stay-at-home mothers. They also found that lower old-age excess mortality rates were associated with increased generosity in basic security types of pensions but not with generosity of earnings-related income security pensions. They calculated that each 1 percent increase in dual-earner support would lower the infant mortality rate by 0.04 deaths per 1,000 births and that each 1 percent increase in basic security type of pensions would decrease old-age excess mortality by 0.02 for both men and women.
“The ways in which social policies are designed, as well as their generosity, are important for health because of the increase in resources that social policies entail,” the authors conclude. “Hence, social policies are of major importance for how we can tackle the social determinants of health.”
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