Actually, I should offer my apologies to the Mafia. Because not even the Mafia could create such a blatantly expensive and inefficient system as the one we have in the US. In fact, when Singapore recently decided to create a national healthcare system, they first looked to the US…in order to learn what NOT to do.
We spend $2.7 trillion a year on healthcare with astoundingly poor results. Per capita, we spend more than double that of other any other advanced nation. We also spend $300 billion on pharmaceuticals…nearly double the amount spent by the the rest of the world combined!
The ugly truth is that Americans are addicted to pharmaceuticals. But we’re certainly not addicted to health. We overeat. We eat all of the wrong foods. We refuse to exercise. And we lead overly stressful lives. As a result, we die sooner…our lifespan ranks just 50th in the world!
Not surprisingly, most medical schools don’t teach nutrition, and most don’t offer courses on pharmaceuticals. (They rely on the pharmaceutical manufacturers to teach doctors after they begin practice.)
Our doctors and clinics are paid for the number of patients they see and the number of procedures they perform. Because of the cost, many Americans, especially those who lack insurance, delay going to the doctor until they can put it off no longer. They then go to hospital Emergency Rooms…the most expensive providers of healthcare. That causes healthcare costs to rise for those who do have insurance.
Many doctors hate our healthcare system. Many nurses and other medical workers hate our system. Many medical clinics hate our system. And many hospitals hate our system. If that’s true, then why doesn’t the system change? The answer is simple: Health insurers, medical equipment providers and pharmaceutical manufacturers are making billions at our expense.
Their greed is bankrupting Medicare and Medicaid, not to mention the thousands of Americans who have been forced into bankruptcy as the result of medical emergencies. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will have some effect on our staggering healthcare costs. It will also add 30 million uninsured patients into the system, so it will improve the overall health of our nation. But these new patients will help to further line the pockets of insurers and pharmaceutical companies.
Not satisfied with their spectacular profits, the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries are spending millions on congressional lobbyists to squeeze even more money out of the system.
The only way to stop the corporate profiteering, to cut costs and to improve healthcare is by creating some form of a single payer system similar to those in Canada, England, France, and most of the civilized world.