Sunday, November 30, 2008

Why Americans Spend So Much on Healthcare

The United States spends far more per person on healthcare than any other country—about twice as much as other developed nations. Yet people in the United States don’t appear to be getting their money’s worth.

The United States lags far behind other developed countries on almost every important medical statistic—life expectancy, infant mortality, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and so forth.
So, what is the problem with American healthcare?

Is it our inefficient medical bureaucracy, where 2 to 3 million Americans are employed by medical providers and insurance carriers—not to deliver healthcare, but merely to pass the buck for that care to someone else?

Is it the cost of medical malpractice insurance, which adds more than $27 billion a year to the cost of providing healthcare—enough to pay annually a high-deductible insurance premium for more than half of the 45 million Americans without health insurance?

Is it our employer-based system, whereby the ultimate providers of healthcare for most people (employers) have little incentive to spend even $1 today on wellness and preventive care in order to save $100 tomorrow—because the odds are that the employee will be long gone or receiving Medicare by the time serious diseases like cancer and heart disease develop?

The partial answer is yes to all of these questions, but the main reason Americans spend two times what they should on healthcare is not because of something wrong with American healthcare.

Today, more than 61 percent of Americans are overweight or medically obese—a figure that has doubled since the 1980s. Being overweight is just one of the symptoms of having a terrible diet—most Americans are also deficient in the basic vitamins and minerals necessary to keep their minds sharp and avoid major diseases like cancer.

If you are overweight or obese, please get immediate help in changing your lifestyle. Already, 59 million Americans have diabetes or prediabetes, mostly due to being overweight—if you are one of them, you have a 65 percent chance of dying from heart disease or stroke. Moreover, before
you die, if you are obese, you will likely consume much of your estate in medical expenses and will needlessly and selfishly be torturing those you love the most.

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