Cuban Health Care

Here's a very interesting Reuters article on health care in Cuba. I don't fully understand how the headline ("Health Care in Cuba More Complicated Than on Sicko") jibes with the text of the article, since about the worst things the author can say about Cuban health care are that (1) the waits are a little longer than they were 6 years ago; (2) people have to bring their own towels to the hospital; (3) there are some shortages of basic medicines; and (4) there is political oppression in Cuba, which, while certainly true and clearly relevant to an evaluation of the Cuban government as a whole, does not seem to have much to do with its health care system per se. One fact in the story that really blew my mind was the following:

The average life expectancy of a child born in Cuba is 77.2years, compared with 77.9 years in the United States, accordingto the WHO. The number of children dying before their fifth birthday isseven per 1,000 live births in Cuba and eight per 1,000 in theUnited States. Yet the United States spends more than 26 times as much onhealth, $6,096 per person a year, compared with only $229 inCuba, the WHO figures show.

UPDATE:  I changed the original post to note the medicine shortages, which do strike me as a more substantive problem than the others the author of the article mentions.

Eduardo M. Peñalver is the Allan R. Tessler Dean of the Cornell Law School. The views expressed in the piece are his own, and should not be attributed to Cornell University or Cornell Law School.

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