Take a quick look at the table below. Which of these two countries would you prefer to live in for health care?
|Country A||Country B|
|Ranked #1 by World Health Organization||Ranked 17th|
|“avoidable mortality rate” (# of people under 75 years old who die from CURABLE diseases) – 1st (least # die)||Last place – 17th out of 17 develop countries (highest number of people die)|
|Healthy life expectancy at age 60 (how many more years a person can expect to be relatively healthy after 60)- first||Last place|
|Infant mortality (babies who die within first year) – less than 3 per 1000||More than 6 per 1000|
|Per capita health care spending $3,500||Per capita spending $7,000 – double|
|Typical office visit $27 (patient pays $5)||Typical office visit $50-100 (co-pay of $15 at least paid by patient)|
|One set of fees for every procedure for every person clearly displayed in doctor’s office||Doctor and hospital fees vary by person by location. Never know cost of service at time of service|
|Average person goes to the doctor 8 times per year||5 visits on average|
|(in 2007) person with a $20,000 income paid a premium of $12 per month||Insurance premiums typically hundreds (if not thousands) of $ per month|
|More doctors and hospitals per person||Less|
|Cannot have a claim for medical care denied||Claims regularly get scrutinized and denied|
|Admin fees 5% of medical spending (for every dollar paid for health care, 5 cents goes to non-medical expenses)||Admin fees 20% of medical spending (4 times as much money goes to expenses not related to caring for your health)|
|Comparable wait times to get an appointment||Comparable wait times|
|One card that has all of your medical history||Files at different doctors, hospitals, etc. not shared with others|
|You may go to any doctor or hospital you wish||Must stay within a network of doctors or pay higher fees|
|Don’t have to go to a general practioner to get permission to go to a specialist||Must go to your general practioner to get permission to see a specialist|
|Private doctors, insurance provided through work, private and public hospitals||Same|
I think most of us would pick “Country A”. Well, that is France. Country B is the USA. The information is from a fabulous book by T.R. Reid called “The Healing of America”.
I knew our health care system was screwed up. I just never knew how bad. We spend way more money with people living less healthy lives and more babies die. BTW, we are the ONLY developed country in the world that does not provide health care to every person in the country.
Why do we accept this?
Some say “those other countries have socialized medicine”. Would you rather have their results or ours?
Some say, “we can’t be like France”. Do you prefer their health outcomes or ours?
Some say, “we have profit-making insurance companies that need to pay share owners”. Do you like the other countries’ outcomes or ours?
Some say, “Those other countries make people wait longer to see a doctor and they have “death panels” that deny coverage to old people”. Yet the USA has the worst ratings on life expectancy, infant mortality, avoidable mortality and healthy life expectancy at age 60. So in my mind what we have must be worse than the “waits and death panels”.
Some say, “Are those all of the facts or just selective facts?”, or, “you can’t prove those outcomes are solely caused by heath care. Their are other factors (poverty, culture, etc.)”. To that I say, are you really pleased with American health care? Do you have facts that point to the greatness of our health care system? Do you think it is important for us to do better – NOW? Do you think that the wealthiest country in the world, the home of the free and the brave, ought to provide basic health care for its citizens?
I am currently in the middle of the administrative nightmare that is American Health Care. Anthem’s systems (my health care provider) have my health care through school terminating on the wrong day. We have bills from June 2014 that are wrong. In order to get them fixed, I have to get my former employer to tell Anthem the right date, Anthem to update their systems, then contact my doctors to re-invoice me, then have Anthem recalculate, then get a new invoice, and finally pay the correct amount. As a fact, this would NOT happen in any other developed country of the world? Why? First, they all offer universal health care. The fact that a person stopped working does not stop that person’s health care in their country. Second, in most countries there is one cost for a procedure no matter where it is done, who it is done for. So the amount of the bill would be known. Third, we have the admin costs of my former employer, Anthem and the various doctors’ offices to sort out the problems. They only have admin in place to do one thing – pay the bills.
For my vote, our health care system is embarrassing.