Bloomberg: U.S. Spends Most on Health Care but has Worst Outcome
“Among advanced economies, the U.S. spends the most on health care on a relative cost basis with the worst outcome” Bloomberg.com – Most Efficient Health Care: Countries(1)
Why Does U.S. Health Care Cost So Much?
This news report about the documentary, Money & Medicine, interviews the producer, Roger Weisberg about this problem of why our health results are so poor, regardless of the fact that we spend so much. What did Mr. Weisberg find?
“You reach a point, where excessive diagnosis and treatment reaches the point where you’re doing more harm than benefit in a lot of cases. And as we look at medical evidence, comparative effectiveness, and outcomes research, we’re discovering that often places that do less have better health outcomes for their patients.” Roger Weisberg, producer/director of “Money & Medicine”
Another important point noted in this video is that medical treatment is the third leading cause of death in the U.S., through the combined effect of drug interactions, medical mistakes, and hospital acquired infections. Additionally, when you add deaths due to side effects of drugs, medicine is the #1 leading cause of death in the U.S.
U.S. Health Care Spending
The United States spends 17.2% of it’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) on health care – far more than any other industrialized country. I don’t think that anyone would argue that, for all that spending, we do have the best trained doctors in the world. We certainly have the most advanced and well equipped hospitals in the world as well. Despite our current health care debacle being played out in Washington, there are still thousands of people from foreign countries seeking health care in the United States. Personally, if I were to experience some catastrophic accident, I would want to receive medical treatment no where else.
With all this spending on health care, great medical training, and amazing hospitals, the U.S. would be expected to have an amazingly efficient and effective health care delivery system. However, nothing could be further from the truth! This Bloomberg study, dated August 19, 2013, ranked the U.S. number 46 out of 48 countries in terms of health care efficiency. We spend an average of $8,608 per person on health care costs in the U.S. Now, last year, exactly $0 was spent on my family and me. We have many friends and colleagues who have $0 health care costs, as well. That means that a lot of people are spending a whole lot more than the average of $8,608 on health care costs.
Unfortunately, the only “news” in this is that, since 2000, the U.S. has only gotten worse. In 2000, the World Health Organization (WHO) measured overall health system performance in their 191 member countries and ranked the U.S. at number 37(2,3). In all fairness, these are two separate studies performed by different organizations and using different weighting systems. Nonetheless, the U.S. consistently performs poorly in health care efficiency. There are at least 36 other countries spending less on health care and getting better results, including countries such as Costa Rica, Dominica, and Belgium (home of the Belgium Waffle!)(4).
U.S. Health Care is as Ineffective as it is Inefficient
Our health care system is very inefficient. But how effective is it? Maybe our high costs are paying off. Well, no. The U.S. is one of the fattest nations in the world and we lose more people to heart disease and cancer than most other countries. Regarding maternal mortality, there are 47 other countries where it is safer to have a baby than it is in the U.S. including countries such as Kuwait, Serbia, Bosnia and South Korea(5,6). There 50 other countries where it is safer to be a baby, according infant mortality rates around the world(7). We simply are not getting what we are paying for.
Will ObamaCare Save Our Failing System?
The answer to our health care crisis is not, and never has been, to throw more money at the problem. These numbers on efficiency clearly demonstrate that. Further, more government control of our already out-of-control health care system is not the answer. We have seen time and time again that this does not work. In fact, the first major governmental step in our health care reform, the Affordable Care Act a.k.a. ObamaCare, is expected to cost the U.S. taxpayers at least $2Billion over the first ten years. However, all of this ObamaCare spending does little more than slightly reform health insurance and expand access to our failing health care system to more people. This does absolutely nothing to promote better health care outcomes and still less to improve actual health results.
Natural Food Fight: Whole Foods and Health Care
“In August, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey argued in the pages of the Wall Street Journal that the solution to America’s health care crisis was to be found in “less government control and more individual empowerment.“”
How to have $0 Health Care Costs
Adding more money doesn’t work. Adding more government doesn’t work. Even adding more drugs doesn’t work. The ONLY answer to our health care crisis is for every man, woman and child to add more health to their lives. Heath is a lot like light. The more light you have, the less darkness exists. The more health you have, the less disease exists. The more health you have the less need you have for our expensive disease care system. Compared to expensive, modern medical treatments for disease, maintaining health is cheap! There is a way to be well but it will never be found in a pill, through a surgery, or in ObamaCare. It is entirely possible to drastically reduce health care costs compared to today’s astronomical spending. However, it takes a completely different way of living.
My family and I, along with most of our friends and many of my patients have made the conscious choice to take personal responsibility for our own health. We research what produces health and prevents disease and we put these principles into action in our lives. Outside of accidental injuries, this allows us to maintain nearly $0 health care costs. Over the past ten years, I have been greatly encouraged to see the shift in consciousness towards more self responsibility for our health. More and more Americans are learning that doing simple things like eliminating toxins from our lifestyle, changing the foods we eat, and increasing our physical exercise have a dramatically positive impact of our health. More people are learning the importance of caring for their own health rather than relying on their doctor or the government. This is real health care! This is the shift that needs to continue if we are to see real change in our health care crisis.
If you are hoping to achieve better health and wellness through better government and more money, then you are in for major disappointment. Real health and wellness has only been achieved by taking better care of your own health. Begin implementing a lifestyle of optimal wellness today. For more information and help on achieving this lifestyle, subscribe to Wellness Achiever today.
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