One reason U.S. health care sucks

I hate hearing this moronic meme that the United States has the best health care in the world. It doesn’t. Anyone who thinks otherwise is ideologically deluded. I’m looking at you FOX Noise.

One major reason for our tendency to suck is that we have relatively little emphasis on preventative care. Countries with real health care, such as Canada, tend to pay a whole lot less overall in their costs while detecting diseases and illnesses early. (As it happens, this tends to help out poor people quite a bit, but hey, that might shrink the unsustainable, ideologically-driven, money-powered, larger-than-pre-1929 income gap we have going on right now.)

Exemplifying the issue is the recent approval of an insanely expensive prostate drug:

Medicare officials said Wednesday that the program will pay the $93,000 cost of prostate cancer drug Provenge, an innovative therapy that typically gives men suffering from an incurable stage of the disease an extra four months to live.

The good news is that the drug extends survival rates by about 4 months versus no treatment and two months versus chemotherapy. The bad news is that Dendreon, the company that makes Provenge, is about to make a billion or so dollars off the taxpayer. It claims this reflects the billion they put into research, but how much of that was subsidized by the government? And are they going to reduce the cost once they recoup their money? (Hint: No.)

But bioethicists who study health care decisions say Medicare’s ruling on Provenge mirrors the bias of the overall U.S. health system, which emphasizes expensive treatments over basic medical care. Health care costs account for nearly one fifth of the U.S. economy, more than any other country.

“We tend to put our health care dollars into very high-tech interventions that produce very marginal improvements,” said Dr. Steven Miles, a professor at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Bioethics. “The problem is that we have created a health care system that is uniquely inadequate in terms of access to primary health care, which is where you get the most bang for your buck.”

One of the big problems with our new health care law is that the stubbornness and fear Americans have towards change has prevented a single-payer system. “But my lib3rty!!!11!!!”, they say. Well, I hope you like a side of late-stage cancer with all that freedom. (Wait…do dead people have liberty?)

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