Michael S. Sparer and Anne-Laure Beaussier have written a very important comparative analysis of public health policy across the United States, England, and France and conclude that public health in the United States is surprisingly robust, in part due to a fairly interventionist federal government, compared to the more meager, locally focused public health systems in England and France. Sparer and Beaussier base this conclusion on two main facts: “First, the United States spends more than nearly all Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development nations on prevention, both on a per-capita basis and as a percentage of overall health spending. Second, the United States outperforms its European peers on several public health and prevention metrics (including tobacco use and dangerous alcohol consumption) while lagging behind on others (such as obesity and opioid use).”

I applaud this interrogation of public health policy. A...

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