by Brian L. Grant, MD
Rhetoric abounds in defense of the U.S. health care system. The rhetoric tends to focus on access, freedom, and choice. But critics of change are generally quite silent when it comes to the measurements of health that count the most in the public health world, including lifespan.
Data supports the fact that the U.S. spends more per capita than any other country on health care, while at the same time our lifespan lags. Among the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries studied , the US stands at 28th, at 78.2 years, just behind Chile, and well below the OECD average of 79.5 years.
Reasons are complex and include many factors that one might argue fall outside of our healthcare system, including lifestyle factors such as obesity. But if this is part of the answer, it further argues against directing massive funds into healthcare rather than potentially more meaningful social and public health focus.
We attach two news articles and one paper that detail this information:
U.S. Ranks 28th in Life Expectancy While It Pays the Most for Health Care
U.S. Health Care Costs More Than ‘Socialized’ European Medicine
Health at a Glance 2011: OECD Indicators: Why Is Health Spending in the U.S. So High?
How much of the health care dollar could be saved with tort reform, and costs of malpractice and litigation, we don’t see this in other countries. How much of the health care dollar is wasted on expensive ER visits at thousands of dollars for minor conditions, that could be handled at urgent care or family medicine. Urgent care won’t treat a lot of simple conditions due to liability, back to tort reform.