By Brian L. Grant, MD
This rather long feature article from the New York Times magazine is worth a read on many levels. It is an in the trenches view of the reality of life for too many American’s, and some creative efforts to import a system that had value in Iran to the poor of Mississippi. The article “What Can Mississippi Learn from Iran?” notes that 84% of our health care dollar is spent on treating and managing chronic conditions. Interventions that impact these conditions pay off in reduced morbidity and expense.
Health care does not exist in a vacuum but rather in a larger social context. The article raises many questions about poverty, equity and humanity. What are the implications of promoting our current system over other alternatives that recognize human shortcomings and work within existing social contexts? Imagine how the U.S. appears to those in countries as disparate as Iran, France, Great Britain, Canada and many more that provide health care as part of the social contract?
Compare and contrast the crying needs and resource shortages described in this article to the context that many Americans, provider and patients alike exist in – where technology, procedures and interventions reign, all too often driven by factors other than clear evidence, and frequently administered not based upon clear and compelling need, but rather by the ability to pay or the desire to be paid. There is nothing inherently wrong with profit, but should it be the driving factor in a health care system any more than it should be the driver for education or other social needs and goods?
Read more here: “What Can Mississippi Learn from Iran?”