Why the U.S. is Chronically Sick, and How to Solve the Problem
Two to three centuries ago, the American population was quite healthy overall.
Fast forward two to three hundred years, and, despite being one of the technological leaders of the world and being the top national spenders on medical care (spending a very large proportion of its GDP on medical bills), th US today is very heavily diseased and chronically ill. What’s gone wrong?
Poor Health in US: Reasons and Solutions
by Reuben Chow
Despite its progress in so many areas of life, the United States suffers badly from ill health. In an excellent article titled “Thinking Differently About Health Care”, John de Graaf, a documentary filmmaker, Executive Director of Take Back Your Time as well as co-author of Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic, raises many key points. Firstly, he points out the current reality of the healthcare system in the US. He then likens the system to a house, and says that the US needs to look holistically at the issue of healthcare, instead of mainly concentrating on high-tech treatment modalities. In other words, the US needs to fix the shaky and broken walls and floor, instead of merely concentrating on having a gold roof. He also suggests what could be done to address the problem.
Current Reality of the US Healthcare / Medical Care System
The US healthcare system is generally in pretty bad shape. The following points raised by de Graaf paint a grim picture.
* Medical care costs almost $8,000 each year for every American.
* Medical care costs are almost 20% of the US’s GDP.
* The American healthcare system costs 40% to 60% more than those in any other industrial country.
* The budget of the American healthcare system is almost half of that of the whole world.
* Despite the above figures, some 48 million Americans do not have health insurance.
* On top of that, the medical system produces “remarkably poor results”.
* For example, the life expectancy of the US is a poor 45th in the world.
* After the age of 50, an American has twice the likelihood of getting a chronic illness, as compared to western Europeans.
* A National Institutes of Health study found that poor Britons were as healthy as rich Americans.
* As many as 275,000 Americans die each year because of the medical system – from treatment errors, hospital infections, adverse reactions to drugs, etc.
* The US ranks 42nd in the world for infant mortality – that’s worse than all other industrial countries.
* A recent study conducted by UNICEF ranked the US 20th among rich countries with regard to the welfare of children. How many countries were actually ranked? 21.
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