The U.S. healthcare system ranked worst among developed countries in the world on five different occasions over the past decade, according to a 2014 report by The Commonwealth Fund. The United Kingdom ranked first, with Switzerland a close second.
The survey compared the U.S. to 12 other countries: Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. They obtained data from several world organizations and conducted interviews with physicians and patients.
The U.S. has by far the most expensive system, but ranks lowest in terms of access, efficiency and outcomes. Including life expectancy.
Strikingly, the high cost of health insurance is not commensurate with the quality of service or the satisfaction of patients — with high out-of-pocket costs and gaps in coverage.
One of the most glaring problems for the U.S. involves the outrageous drug prices paid by Medicare Part D, to which all citizens over age 65 must belong. Other nations around the world negotiate the prices the government will pay for drugs. After all, entire national government health care systems make for very large buyers. As such, they can demand lower costs for goods and services…and drugs!
But, in the U.S., which is by far the largest drug buyer in the world, Medicare Part D prohibits the government from negotiating the price of these drugs. So, big pharma charges whatever they want. And the patient, consumers and taxpayers must absorb the huge costs.
This process works a lot like the old-fashioned “cost-based” health insurance plans, which went out the window by the 1980s. With these plans, hospitals could charge whatever they wanted and passed the costs onto health insurance.
This Part D drug scandal has been in place for a decade. But I had to laugh when reporters on MSNBC were shocked and outraged to discover this “news” just last month. Ironically, MSNBC is usually the biggest cheerleader for big government among the lame stream media.
Furthermore, the Affordable Care Act forces all U.S. healthcare consumers to subsidize the failed mainstream healthcare system, ranked worst in the world. They then must spend additional out-of-pocket dollars to obtain the health services they really do want, such as “alternative,” natural, non-drug treatments.
All the while, the government minions at the CDC, FDA, and NIH are “in the pockets” of the medical industry, which uses its power to force dangerous, expensive, ineffective mainstream care on the public.
We CAN make America great again
I vividly remember working with Dr. C. Everett Koop during his term as Surgeon General in the 1980s and, after he completed his term, during the 1990s. Dr. Koop knew well about the problems with our healthcare system, as well as many of the opportunities afforded by the natural, non-drug treatments available from all over the world.
Dr. Koop even wrote the Foreword to my medical textbook on natural treatments when it first came out 20 years ago. He also co-chaired my international medical conferences on natural treatments during the 1990s with me and Dr. Dean Ornish.
At one of our international conferences, we met some highly competent public health professionals from Singapore.
Singapore is the former British colony on the tip of the Malaysian peninsula. When independence came to Malaya after WW II, Singapore was “partitioned” by the British into a separate, independent nation from the newly independent Malaysia.
Today, the country takes a business-like approach to their government services and workers. Including healthcare. Their government employment system works like the private sector. They even pay their top workers top dollar. And in return, they expect (and get) top performance.
So — in Singapore — for $1 million dollars, they get one top health management executive. In the U.S., for that amount of money, we get about a half-dozen mediocre executive bureaucrats who can’t get the job done, whether at the VA, FDA, CDC, NIH, or any other part of government.
You decide — which group of taxpayers gets the better deal from their government?
The Singapore government health officials at our international conference were designing a new healthcare system for their nation, studying different healthcare systems around the world. We asked if they were here to study the U.S. healthcare system…and they burst out laughing. They asked why waste any time looking at the U.S. system, since it had the highest costs with the worst results of any country in the developed world — and that was 20 years ago!
They knew what they were talking about.
One of Hillary Clinton’s spectacular failures was her healthcare “reform” plan, which crashed and burned in the 1990s. It would have only rearranged the deck chairs on the Titanic.
And they knew that too.
Eventually, when the Obama administration pushed through the purely partisan Affordable Care Act by one vote, with unethical deal-making, it also just rearranged the deck chairs. But this time around, everyone must now buy an expensive ticket on this sinking ship.
Not so in Singapore, where taxpayers actually get something back for their tax dollars.
“US Spends More on Health Care Than Other High-Income Nations But Has Lower Life Expectancy, Worse Health,” The Commonwealth Fund (www.commonwealthfund.org) 10/8/2015