Sunday, December 07, 2008

Five Misconceptions About Health

Here's a brief summary of an article Shannon Brownlee and Ezekiel Emanuel wrote for the Washington Post (reprinted in the Minneapolis Star Tribune):
  1. America has the best health care in the world.

  2. Let's bury this one once and for all. The United States is No. 1 in only one sense: the amount we shell out for health care. We have the most expensive system in the world per capita, but we lag behind many developed countries on virtually every health statistic you can name.

  3. Somebody else is paying for your health insurance.

  4. Nope. Even when your employer offers coverage, he isn't reaching into his own pocket to cover you and your fellow employees; he's reaching into your pocket, paying you lower wages than he would if he didn't have to pay for your health insurance.

  5. We would save a lot if we could cut the administrative waste of private insurance.

  6. The idea that we could wring billions of dollars in savings this way is seductive, but it wouldn't really accomplish that much. For one thing, some administrative costs are not only necessary but beneficial. Tracking the rate of heart attacks from drugs such as Avandia, for instance, is key to ensuring safe pharmaceuticals.

  7. Health-care reform is going to cost a bundle.

  8. Only if you think that covering the uninsured is our only priority. Yes, making health care available to all citizens is the right thing to do. But it isn't the only thing to do. We also have to fix the spectacularly wasteful and expensive way doctors and hospitals deliver care.

  9. Americans aren't ready for a major overhaul of the health-care system.

  10. A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that only 7 percent of Americans rate our health-care system excellent. Nearly 40 percent consider it poor. A whopping 70 percent believe it needs major changes, if not a complete overhaul.

I strongly suggest everyone go and read the full article. It's not terribly long, and it offers some pretty eye-opening information. For example, did you realize that the average family of four spends $29,000 a year for health care via taxes, lower wages and out-of-pocket medical expenses? While I knew it was taken out of wages, taxes, etc, I had no idea it was that high.

A lot of these things are part of the broader discussion I've seen in comments on this and other health blogs, so they're worth considering as we go into what will hopefully be a new era of health care in America.
-Kelly Hills


Kelly Hills said...

Now how in the world did I read our front page twice and still miss Sue's post on this same topic?

*shakes head*

Acai Berry said...

well this happens my friend kelly.

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Ruca said...

But I thought socialize health care was the slippery slope to communist breadlines? Fox news said so so it must be true.

LuLu said...

LOL, Ruca! Funny that Fox seems to think the bailout for Wall street is just fine....geeez...

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acai berry said...

This post is really understated... After living in London for a year, coming back to America was the equivalent to saying "bye-bye" to all forms of healthcare for me.

I am sure that if Americans knew how awesome and FREE healthcare always is in civilized countries (Yes even free to foreigners) then our national priorities would be very different today.

Acai Berry said...

Yes you are absolutely right America has the best health care in the world.our national priorities would be very different today.

vijay said...

Its shocking to know that America is spending enormously on healthcare.
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