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Health Care: The US and the Developed World

Updated on November 26, 2012

Health Care: The US and the Developed World

I recently consulted World Health Organization data on the status of health care around the world in developed nations for cost, infant mortality and life expectancy. The results were astounding. Though the US spends more per capita on health care than any of these counntries, it comes in below 30th position in both infant mortality and life expectancy.

In terms of infant mortality, the rate among the 32 countries above the US in ratings was 4.5 per 1,000 births. The US has 7.1. In terms of life expectancy, the 33 countries above the US had 80 years, the US had 78.

The big difference between the US and these other countries is the 'single payer' method of delivering health care, that is, the government oversees the mechanics of health care, whereas, in the US, we have insurances companies between the health care providers and the people skinning off about 20% of health care money which is never used for treating diseases. It is also true that the majority of government agencies overseeing health care are not allowed to negotiate with drug companies to lower the cost of drugs, resulting in drugs costing far more in the US than in other countries where negotiation is done.

It is not possible for me to imagine that our health care situation in this country can get better until there is a reorganization of our whole system, eliminating insurance and drug companies from the process and going to some sort of system as the National Health Care system in Britain which the Brits praised so highly in their recent Olympic Games Opening Ceremony. Until the, the very rich will have 'the best health care in the world' as is generally true, but the rest of us will have what we haphazardly have, depending on where we work and other vaiables. This is a sad state of affairs.


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