Thursday, June 05, 2008

Health Care System is Out of Control

I just read an article in AARP magazine.

Yeah, I'm old.

Stop snickering.

Anyway, some interesting facts were presented. According to the Congressional Budget Office, health care spending has increased 2% faster than the rest of the economy over the last 30 years. We have 47 million Americans with no health care.

Yet, the same rhetoric "best care in the world" is repeated over and over.

But is it?

Our life expectancy is lower than Canada, Japan, and most of Western Europe. We rank 43rd in infant mortality, behind Cuba and the Czech Republic.

What are some of the causes for such great expense while receiving less than the best?

One third of our healthcare dollars goes to administrative costs-- paper pushers. This is double what Canada spends. It is estimated that using the same system (single-payer) we could save $360 billion per year.

And the study concluded that perhaps the single biggest cost is unnecessary treatment. We, as a people, demand medication for everything. Just watch TV for a couple hours, and you will see advertisements for many, many prescriptions. Why? Does anyone believe these ads are targeted towards doctors?

Of course they are not. They are to have consumers pester the doctor for medications. It is better to take a pill than to change a behavior, according to the commercials. Take a pill and live better.

Doctors now practice what is called "defensive medicine." Lots of tests, most unnecessary, because they are terrified that if they miss something, they will get sued.

Just in the last year, I have been taken off 2 medicines that had been given for "defensive purposes." No evidence had been shown to indicate that the medication would really do anything, but it was given "just in case."

Oy. Can you imagine how much others have been given? What procedures are done with no real logical reason?


Jane said...

The American health care system needs an overhaul for sure. It's only the best care in the world if you can afford it.

~*~Shadow.Crystal~*~ said...

That's pretty rotten... but, Canada is not that great either... the phrase "you get what you pay for" kind of sums it up for us. My friend's mother went to have a cyst removed and was given flesh eating disease from dirty instruments and died two days later; I was set home twice with major asthma attacks, twice with severe pneumonia, and once with a concussion; my uncle was killed last October when paramedics who didn't know what they were doing has him without oxygen for 10 min, then doctors decided to do nothing because he'd "PROBABLY" have brain damage from the lack of oxygen, and my little cousin damn near died from encephalitis when all the pediatricians said she "just had a cold" (even though she lost the use of her legs and was going unconscious). Actually, that's just a few of the experiences I can think of.
Bill Moyers has an excellent video on the pharmacuetical industry, called "Our Daily Meds" (