Medical Ethicist Says U.S. Needs Universal Health Care
The U.S. health care system is a "dysfunctional mess," and politicians who say it is the best in the world appear "clueless rather than patriotic or authoritative," NIH ethicist Ezekiel Emanuel writes in a Journal of the American Medical Association commentary published on Wednesday, AP/Long Island Newsday reports.
Emanuel notes that although the U.S. spends more than 16% of its gross domestic product on health care -- more than any other country -- the U.S. life expectancy of 78 years old ranks 45th in the world and the infant death rate of 6.37 per 1,000 live births is higher than in most developed countries. Emanuel proposes a gradual elimination of Medicare, Medicaid and the employer-sponsored health system and the creation of a system that would provide basic health insurance to all U.S. residents.
Under the plan, people would be able to choose their insurance carrier and purchase upgraded coverage. The program would be funded by a value-added tax of about 10% on businesses (Johnson, AP/Long Island Newsday, 5/15).
An abstract of the commentary is available online.