U.S. Patients Spend More but Don't Get More

A study released showed that although Americans spend more money on health care than any other industrialized nation, they are receiving the appropriate treatment less than 60 percent of the time, resulting in undue suffering, medical bills and even death. One expert stated the outrageousness of spending $1.4 trillion on health care and receiving adequate care only half of the time. Two studies concluded that the problem wasn't due to a lack of medical solutions, but rather the shortage of systems needed to assist doctors with providing the best treatment possible. Major contributors to the problem included an outdated record-keeping system and a reimbursement system that benefited intervention over prevention. One expert suggested that more money would be saved by not issuing unnecessary tests and antibiotics.

The rising costs of health care is not new as I wrote about this in a past newsletter article. We are currently paying over $1.5 trillion for health care in the United States and that is expected to rise to $3 trillion by the end of the decade. This is largely due to the costs of drugs and surgery and a reliance on a medical system that does not treat the cause of disease. How can we possibly be competitive globally as a nation when GM, the largest car manufacturer, pays nearly $2,000 on EVERY car for health care and retirement benefits for their employees?

The system is crumbling before our eyes. Our country simply cannot afford this nightmare mess and gets nothing--except lining the pockets of pharmaceutical companies--in return. Paying all this money would be much easier to swallow if we received glowing health in return, but, as you know, that isn't the case. The United States barely ranks in the top 20 healthiest nations.

The Washington Post May 5, 2004

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