Wednesday, December 16, 2009

American Medical Services Must Be Reformed

The new National Geographic magazine points out that:
  • The United States spends $7,290 per capita on health services, compared to an average of $2,986 among developed nations. The second highest spending is $4,417 in Switzerland.
  • The United States has a life expectancy of 78 years, less than the average of 79.2 of its sample of OECD countries. Japan has a life expectancy of nearly 83 years.
  • In the United States the average number of visits per year is less than 4. In Japan it is more than 12.
Clearly we are getting less health for our money than we should. Part of the problem is that medical costs are too high. For those of you who are not covered by HMOs, the incentives are to provide service to the sick, not to keep you well. We also spend too much on the bureaucratics of health financing, and too much on medical services to defend providers against possible lawsuits.

The problem of low life expectancy is in large part due to the inequities in our system. Poor people die earlier because they don't have equitable access to health education and health services.

It is time for the Congress to act to improve the situation.

No comments: