Is The U.S. Healthcare System Broken? Does It Need Fixed? Don’t Foreign Dignitaries Come to the U.S. for Care? Don’t We Have the Best Care in the World? The United States has the best medical facilities, procedures and doctors available anywhere in the world. Source: The "Ranking Web of World Hospitals" is an initiative of the Cybermetrics Lab, a research group belonging to the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), the largest public research body in Spain. Ranking Web of World Hospitals places 52 U.S. hospitals in the top 100 hospitals worldwide and 9 U.S Hospitals in the Top 10.
U.S. Cancer Care Outperforms European Care Of cancers that affect primarily men, the survival rate among Americans for bladder cancer is 15 percentage points higher than the European average; for prostate cancer, it is 28 percentage points higher. Of cancers that affect women only, the survival rate among Americans for uterine cancer is about 5 percentage points higher than the European average; for breast cancer, it is 14 percentage points higher. The United States has survival rates of 90 percent or higher for five cancers (skin melanoma, breast, prostate, thyroid and testicular), but there is only one cancer for which the European survival rate reaches 90 percent (testicular). Conclusion. International comparisons establish that the most important factors in cancer survival are early diagnosis, time to treatment and access to the most effective drugs. Some uninsured cancer patients in the United States encounter problems with timely treatment and access, but a far larger proportion of cancer patients in Europe face these troubles. No country on the globe does as good a job overall as the United States. Thus, the U.S. government should focus on ensuring that all cancer patients receive timely care, rather than radically overhauling the current system. American women have a 63 percent chance of living at least five years after a cancer diagnosis, compared to 56 percent for European women. American men have a five-year survival rate of 66 percent — compared to only 47 percent for European men. Source: National Center for Policy Analysis, October 11, 2007
So, What’s The Problem? Cancer is not the whole story Further
Here are a few of those statistics. We are also number 1 in a many healthcare statistics (among the world’s industrial nations) that are not so flattering. While many Americans correctly argue that the U.S. has some of the best healthcare in the world.
The U.S. stands almost entirely alone among developed nations that lack universal health care. Source: The Atlantic, June, 28 2012
Source: WHO World Health Report, 2000 The World Health Organization's ranking of the world's health systems. The World Health Organization's ranking of the world's health systems was last produced in 2000, and the WHO no longer produces such a ranking table, because of the complexity of the task. The 2000 Rankings 37 United States 31 Finland; 32 Australia; 33 Chile; 34 Denmark; 35 Dominica; 36 Costa Rica 1 France; 2 Italy; 3 San Marino; 4 Andorra; 5 Malta; 6 Singapore; 7 Spain; 8 Oman; 9 Austria; 10 Japan; 11 Norway; 12 Portugal; 13 Monaco; 14 Greece; 15 Iceland; 16 Luxembourg; 17 Netherlands; 18 United Kingdom; 19 Ireland; 20 Switzerland; 21 Belgium; 22 Colombia; 23 Sweden; 24 Cyprus; 25 Germany; 26 Saudi Arabia; 27 United Arab Emirates; 28 Israel; 29 Morocco; 30 Canada; Country Ranking:
Preventable Deaths In Industrialized Countries That Could Be Avoided Through Prompt or Preventative Treatment The decline in preventable deaths in all countries averaged 16 percent over this period. The United States was an outlier, with a decline of only 4 percent. Source: Commonwealth Fund National Scorecard On U.S. Health System Performance, 2007 This study compared trends in the industrialized countries in preventable deaths before age seventy-five. Preventable deaths include those that are caused by appendicitis and hypertension and illnesses that can be detected by early screenings and prompt treatment. The focus on preventable deaths effectively controls for difference in population and lifestyle differences across countries. While no country has a perfect system of healthcare there is much we can learn from other countries models and experiences. The number of preventable deaths per 100,000 in 2002-2003 is highest in the United States
Religious Foundation: There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land (Deuteronomy 15:11). When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick (Matthew 8:15-17). So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor (Luke 7:21-23). Human Concern: 45 million people are without healthcare and others have lost their healthcare because of cost or potential cost to the insurer. Nearly 45,000 annual deaths are associated with lack of health insurance, according to a new study published online today by the American Journal of Public Health. A study, conducted at Harvard Medical School and Cambridge Health Alliance, found that uninsured, working-age Americans have a 40 percent higher risk of death than their privately insured counterparts ( Harvard Gazette, September, 2009). Why Should We Care About Healthcare?
Economics: Lost Productivity - The Integrated Benefits Institute, which represents major U.S. employers and business coalitions, says poor health costs the U.S. economy $576 billion a year (Forbes, 9/12/2012). Prompt medical attention and early diagnosis of disease such as breast and colon cancers lead to lower overall costs for treatment lowering cost burdens on the health system as a whole. Family planning and reproductive contraception readily available to the poor especially, limits unplanned and unwanted pregnancies that can lead to higher social costs. Personal Interest: Preventative and prompt remedial measures limit the spread of communicable diseases. Consider industries that do not provide paid sick time off. Would you prefer healthier people handling your food, checking you out of the store, etc.? Why Should We Care About Healthcare?
Critics of the Affordable Care Act Critics of the health law spent a whopping $400 million on television spots criticizing the law since 2010, over five times the $75 million that the law’s supporters have spent on ads promoting it. Analysts expect $1 billion in expenditures by 2015. What kind of country would you like the United States to be?
If you think that affordable healthcare for all is desirable please write to Speaker Boehner to (1) consider improvements to the Affordable Care Act and (2) cease all initiatives to repeal or hamper its implementation. A sample letter you may modify as appropriate is under the healthcare tab. The End