23
Oct
08

not healthy, broke

why health care needs to be universal

Instead of living a year longer, the life expectancy of Americans is now 2.5 years shorter than that of Canadians. Infant mortality rates are higher in the US, as is preventable mortality (death before the age of 75 years from diseases that are amenable to treatment). Furthermore, contrary to popular belief, people in the US do not receive more health care services. They visit their doctors much less often and spend less time in hospital than Canadians do. Per population, there are also fewer nurses and hospital beds in the US, although there are slightly more doctors and many more magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) units.

The only plausible explanation for the US paradox of spending more and getting less is that the US health care system is enormously inefficient compared with the Canadian system. The inefficiency stems from the fact that the US, alone among industrialized countries, relies primarily on private, largely investor-owned corporations to provide health care. It is the only industrialized country that treats health care like a market commodity instead of a social service. Thus, health care is distributed not according to medical need but, rather, according to the ability to pay. . .

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