What? European style socialist healthcare is better than the healthcare we receive in the greatest nation on earth? Well yes, yes it is, according to a study conducted by the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine entitled "U.S. Health in International Perspective: Shorter Lives, Poorer Health."
“We were struck by the gravity of these findings,” said Steven Woolf, professor of family medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond and chair of the panel that wrote the report. [...]
The report is the first of its kind to look at a range of illnesses, injuries and behaviors of people of all ages in the United States to run a comparison with counterparts in rich countries such as Australia, Canada, Japan and several countries in western Europe.
Among the countries studied, the United States was in last place or close to last in nine key benchmark areas.
They were: infant mortality and low birth weight; injuries and homicides; teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections; prevalence of HIV and AIDS; drug-related deaths; obesity and diabetes; heart disease; chronic lung disease; and disability.
And it's not just poor people or uninsured people who make our health care system look bad. Even our white rich people are worse off than their counterparts in other countries:
However, the panel's research suggests that the U.S. health disadvantage is not solely a reflection of the serious health disadvantages that are concentrated in the U.S. among poor or uninsured people or ethnic and racial minorities. Americans still fare worse than people in other countries even when the analysis is limited to non-Hispanic whites and people with relatively high incomes and health insurance, nonsmokers, or people who are not obese.Something is terribly wrong in this country and has been for some time when it comes to the health and well being of our people (other than those corporate persons who get to spend as much as they want to influence our elections and the laws Congress considers). We came out of WWII and developed the most prosperous, best educated, healthiest nation on earth. But that was over sixty years ago.
Today, among our peers in the developed world, we rank as the unhealthiest nation. Coincidentally, we have the greatest income inequality in our history. During the good old days - back when "union" was not a dirty word, teachers were paid a living wage and we led the world in government funded medical research and public health programs - we dramatically reduced income inequality to the lowest point in our history.
Then came Reagan, deregulation, privatization, and the rise of the for profit health care industry. Now we spend more per capita on health care than any other country in the world, and we get worse health care than our neighbor to the North, and the nations we defeated in WWII, Japan and Germany, among others. As the author of the panel that issued this report stated, this level of suffering is unnecessary. You know, when people take medical vacations to get dental care and other medical treatments in Mexico and Costa Rica because they can't afford the cost of those services in "the land of the free and the home of the brave" - well, need I say more.