U.S. Health Care System Failing
The "U.S. medical system is headed for multiple organ failure," John Abramson, a clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School and the author of "Overdosed America," writes in a Los Angeles Times opinion piece.
"The spiraling cost of health care is well known: $7,100 per person this year, projected to increase to $12,000 in 2015 and compounding at more than double the rate of inflation," Abramson writes, noting that "medical care gobbles up one-sixth of the GDP."
According to the Abramson, "facts show that these enormous expenditures may be buying us the best amenities in medical care -- but not the best health."
A Dartmouth Medical School study found that "perhaps a third of medical spending is now devoted to services that don't appear to improve health or the quality of care -- and may make things worse," Abramson writes, adding, "This means that the U.S. is wasting more than $650 billion a year -- half again more than the entire Defense Department will spend this year, including the cost of the war in Iraq -- on unnecessary and often harmful care."
He says, "One factor is specialists. Both U.S. and international studies show that the more a health care system relies on primary care, the better the outcomes and the lower the cost. But American medicine is heavy on specialists and getting heavier."
In addition, according to Abramson, "Our government has become almost fundamentalist in its reliance on market-based, pro-business solutions to social problems." He continues, "No politician wants to be tarred with the charge of promoting 'socialized medicine.'"
According to Abramson, "even in the midst of this pivotal congressional election campaign, few politicians are addressing the crisis in affordable, quality health care. Is this any way to run a democracy?" (Abramson, Los Angeles Times, 11/3).