U. S. Healthcare for the greedy not the needy:
Costs in U.S. vs. rest of world

By Noble Johns

CHATTANOOGA (BNW) –
The American healthcare system is fraught with greed from doctors being paid off by the pharmaceutical companies, to healthcare providers over billing Medicaid with exorbitant cost. The United States spends more on healthcare than any other country in the world but has higher rates of infant mortality, diabetes and other ills than many other developed countries.

In other words, our healthcare system has felled the people and is a system of healthcare designed for the greedy not the needy. While the father of medicine, Hippocrates, mentioned, “First do no harm,” doctors in the U. S. are not only doing harm, but are discriminating against patients because of race.

According “The Washington Post,” Black Americans still get far fewer operations, tests, medications and other life-saving treatments than whites, despite years of efforts to erase racial disparities in healthcare and help African Americans live equally long and healthy lives, according to three major studies that have been published.

Blacks' healthcare has started to catch up to whites' in some ways, but blacks remain much less likely to undergo heart bypasses, appendectomies and other common procedures. They receive fewer mammograms and basic tests and drugs for heart disease and diabetes, and they have fallen even further behind whites in controlling those two major killers, according to the first attempts to measure the last decade's efforts to improve equality of care.

It is clear that the system is a-washed with greed and selfishness and is in need of reform — reform that will cut cost and make the healthcare system available to everyone. Without reform, the system will cannibalize itself in less than 10-years.

While there is universality of the problem with the American healthcare system, solutions to the problem are short on details and long on excuses. For example, this country must come to grips with the three big players in the healthcare system: doctors, insurance companies, and pharmaceutical companies.

Doctor’s salaries should be capped! Too many doctors are specializing in fields that demand big bucks. While specialists like surgeons, enologists, neurologists are paid in the millions, most could be paid much less and still be well off. The doctors in this country are a part of the greedy who are ruining the very system that provides their livelihood. What seems like be a fair salary for doctors would be a cap of $150.000 for family practitioners and $250.000 for specialists. Moreover to get a license to practice medicine, ten percent of the patience load must be pro bono.

President Barack Obama told Congress on last month he was open to making mandatory health insurance part of an overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system but only with exemptions for the poor and for small businesses. Obama, setting out requirements for a new national healthcare bill he hopes will be passed by August, tempered his early opposition to an insurance mandate, which is backed by the insurance industry. He in a letter to the heads of two Senate Committees working on the legislation, said he accepted they were likely to include a mandate but that it should include hardship waivers for those who cannot afford the premiums and exemptions for small business.

With insurance market reforms likely to require insurers to provide coverage regardless of medical condition, insurers are worried that without a mandate requiring coverage, people will wait until they are sick to buy insurance.

The insurance industry will never agree to a public plan because that would be the first step to them having to treat patients fairly and with respect. As a result, because of their past behavior, the whole insurance industry should be nationalized and the insurance companies dismantled.

The willingness of Obama and his fellow Democrats who control Congress to compromise on key provisions makes it more likely they will achieve his goal of enacting a far-reaching revamp of the $2.5 trillion healthcare system.

Should life expectancy be topic in health care debate?

Despite spending more money than any other country on health care, the United States does not lead the world in life expectancy, a long-known fact that some experts say could raise more questions in the health-care reform debate. A study found that better-educated doctors increase the growth rate of life expectancy.

A study found that better-educated doctors increase the growth rate of life expectancy. Some argue part of the problem stems from the privatized nature of the U.S. health care system, whose reform is being vigorously debated on Capitol Hill.

"What we are able to find in the industrialized world is that life expectancy will be influenced in a beneficial manner to the extent that health care expenditure is publicly financed," said Harvey Brenner, professor of public health at the University of North Texas Health Science Center and Johns Hopkins University. "The higher the government expenditure on health care, the lower will be the mortality rate."

In countries where individuals pay for their own care, people often don't get treatment until their symptoms have become serious, Brenner said. There is also less emphasis on preventative care in those countries, he said.

The pharmaceutical companies are the big crooks in the scheme to gut the healthcare system! Since they are the chief conspirators in the healthcare rip off, they must be dealt with, with complete dispatch! The whole of the pharmaceutical companies must be nationalized for the health of the country. The industry is terminal and on life support, plus last rites were given long ago. In other words, we cannot afford to keep this patient alive.

I was infuriated when the pharmaceutical companies stopped Americans were trying to get cheaper drugs from Canada. The pharmaceutical companies got the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to prevent drugs coming from Canada because they said the drugs were unsafe. But what they didn’t say was that it’s the same drugs coming from the same pharmaceutical companies that convinced the FDA the drugs were unsafe in the first place. You go figure that one out!

An analysis by Bianca Frogner, postdoctoral fellow at the University of Illinois at Chicago's School of Public Health, supports the view that a single-payer system may be associated with higher life expectancy. The federal governments of countries such as Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Australia and Canada are the payers for the respective systems, and these countries have some of the highest life expectancies in the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development.

"Inevitably the conversation about reforming our health care system focuses on the question of what are we getting for our money and how are others doing with their health care dollars. Life expectancy, along with mortality and morbidity rates, are fairly straightforward numbers to rely on," Frogner said in an e-mail.

A 2008 study in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that with the implementation of the Taiwan single payer systems, gain in life expectancy was slightly faster in the 10 years after reform than the 10 years prior to the reform.

But the issue for the United States is far more nuanced than simple comparisons to other countries, said Nicholas Eberstadt, researcher at the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington think tank. The population characteristics and risk behaviors for different regions should also be taken into account, he said.

While infant mortality rates in the 1980s and '90s were higher in the United States than in some Scandanavian countries, low birth weight babies had better survival rates in America at the same time, he said.

"The simplest hypothesis for this paradox is that at any given birth weight, especially at the critical high risk low birth rates, American babies got better access to medical care than Scandanavian babies," Eberstadt said.

Similarly, looking at five-year survival rates for cancer patients of any ethnicity, the U.S. generally beats European countries, he said.

"It makes one appreciate that you have to tread a little bit more carefully in accepting some of the broad generalizations about the health care system," he said. Take a quiz on healthy aging »

Frank Lichtenberg, professor of business at Columbia University, said it's impossible to determine at this point what effect a single-payer system would have on life expectancy in the United States.

But medical innovation in general does benefit the rate at which life expectancy increases, he said.

His research has found U.S. states that adopt new drugs more rapidly, use more advanced imaging procedures, and have graduates from top medical schools, tend to have higher rates of life expectancy growth.

"The growth in life expectancy is primarily attributable to the quality of medical care," he said.

What is needed to stop the high cost of healthcare in this country is radial reform; reform that puts the people first and the doctors, insurance companies and the pharmaceutical companies last!

WORLD LIFE EXPECTANCY

Compare life expectancy and health care expenditures in 15 countries. The United States ranks 50th out of 224 nations in life expectancy, with an average life span of 78.1 years, according to 2009 estimates from the CIA World Factbook.

Here is a comparison of the United States' healthcare costs versus those of selected other countries in 2006: Obama yields on health insurance mandates


Highest 10 (average life span)

Japan………….. 83
Australia……..... 82
Iceland…………82
Italy…………… 82
San Marino …....82
Switzerland….... 82
Andorra……… 81
Canada………. 81
France……….. 81
Israel………… 81

Lowest 10 (average life span)

Sierra Leone…….. 41
Afghanistan…….... 42
Zimbabwe………. 45
Lesotho…………. 45
Zambia………….. 46
Chad .....................46
Uganda.................. 48
Swaziland............... 48
Mozambique.......... 48
Guinea-Bissau........ 48

Source: World Health Organization

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