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May 17, 2007
U.S. Health System Is a 'Mess' Says NIH Ethics Expert
A leading ethicist at the National Institutes of Health this week stated that the U.S. health care system is "a dysfunctional mess" and politicians who insist otherwise look ignorant.
"If a politician declares that the U.S. has the best health care system in the world today, he or she looks clueless rather than patriotic or authoritative," Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel wrote in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association.
Dr. Emanuel noted that Americans' average life expectancy of 78 ranks 45th in the world, behind Bosnia and Jordan. And the U.S. infant death rate is 6.37 per 1,000 live births, higher than that of most developed nations.
Whatever outdated stereotypes you may hold, these days poor people in Britain are statistically healthier than rich people in America.
These poor results are despite the fact that the U.S. spends $6,000 per person per year on health care, an amount that is more than 16% of the nation's gross domestic product and more than any other country by a large margin. The answer, Dr. Emanual recommends, is sweeping health care reform.
The solution that Dr. Emanuel's proposes involves phasing out Medicaid, Medicare as well as employer-sponsored health insurance. Instead, in the recommendation he makes, all Americans would get a basic package of insurance, everyone would choose their insurance company and could buy upgraded coverage. The resources necessary for his program would come from a value-added tax of about 10% on businesses.
What do you think? Is the US health care system "a mess", or is it the best in the world? What has been your experience?
Source: Journal of the American Medical Association; What Cannot Be Said on Television About Health Care (paid access only)
Posted by szadmin at May 17, 2007 08:59 PM
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