Saturday, November 21, 2009

"while American health care is the most expensive it constantly underperforms"

"Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane."
-Martin Luther King, Jr., Civil Rights Leader and Minister

We have heard it said that the American health care system is the best in the world. We do know for sure that it is the most expensive in the world but it seems it is not the best or at least Americans don't top the list as the healthiest people in the world. Statistics from the CIA World Fact Book lists the United States at 50th for life expectancy, behind such countries as Japan, Canada, France, Sweden, Switzerland, Israel, Spain, Norway, Germany pretty much all of Europe. We also rank 44th on infant mortality behind such countries as Cuba, the European Union, Italy, Greece, Ireland, Canada, U.K., New Zealand, Netherlands, Austria, Denmark, South Korea, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Czech Republic, Norway, Finland, Hong Kong, Japan, Sweden and more.
The Commonwealth Fund in a survey of health care costs by country found that "while American health care is the most expensive it constantly underperforms", when compared to other countries such as Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Norway, Sweden, and the U.K.
I don't think that we Americans have much to be smug about when it comes to health care. When compared to the rest of the industrialized world we perform poorly and in some areas such as infant mortality we are close to a third world country. The fact that we spend the most money but have an inferior health care system should tell us something. Part of the reason for the disparity is that so many Americans can't afford coverage or are denied by their insurers with the result being that millions of Americans are unable to get the care they need. Reform of the American health care system is way overdue. If health care reform doesn't pass in congress it will be because the United States Congress, specifically the Republicans, the Red Dog Democrats and of course the Hartford's man Joe Leiberman have been bought and paid for by the health insurance industry and have sold out the American people.


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