The U.S. health care system: values and priorities

DenverHealthCare

Commentary

The current battles over American health care system are indicative of a wider philosophical and social divide. What is at stake and what is the desired outcome of each side?

First we must look at the current health care system as it exists in the United States. The World Health Organization ranks the U.S. health care system well below most of Europe, Canada and Japan. France and Italy rank at number one and two while the U.S. is at 37.

Most of the countries that rank above the U.S. have some form of socialized health care system. Japan, which ranks 10 on the WHO list, is number 1 in life expectancy at 74.5 years while the U.S. is 24 in life expectancy, again below Europe, Canada and Australia as well.

An oft repeated declaration is that the U.S. has the best health care in the world. That people from all over the world come to the U.S. for health care, such as the King of Jordan who went to Mayo Clinic recently for surgery. This happens, if they can afford to do so.

U.S. citizens do the same. Richard DeVos, co-founder of AMWAY and a staunch Republican went to England for a heart transplant and talk show host Charlie Rose went to France for heart surgery.

These options of course do not exist for most Americans.

The disruptions and shows of "righteous indignation" at town hall meetings need a closer look. News reports indicate that those disrupting the town halls of specific Democratic Congressmen and women were largely staged by combinations of HMO employees bussed to the town halls for the purpose of disruption and distortion and Fox News zealots who believe capitalism and business interests should come before people's health.

Misinformation and lies about President Barack Obama's health care plans swayed opinion polls as well as a lack of knowledge about the benefits of universal health care. The right-wing's repeated comparing of Obama's proposed changes as comparable to Nazism was especially ridiculous.

 

In a recent interview with Dr. James Jackson, a well known Muskegon physician and community activist, the doctor stated the problem in America's health care. "It is based on capitalism, it puts people second and money fist," he said. When asked if HMOs had a legitimate place in American health care he said "absolutely not."

Jackson, a single-payer advocate, said Obama's health care plan would not go far enough to solve the current problems. "If it does not include single-payer it will continue the same problems that we currently have."
In the ongoing battle for truth, justice and values people should always be valued before and above profits.

Below is the chart of countries from the World Health Organization ranking health care systems in 2000.

1 France
2 Italy
3 San Marino
4 Andorra
5 Malta
6 Singapore
7 Spain
8 Oman
9 Austria
10 Japan
11 Norway
12 Portugal
13 Monaco
14 Greece
15 Iceland
16 Luxembourg
17 Netherlands
18 United Kingdom
19 Ireland
20 Switzerland
21 Belgium
22 Colombia
23 Sweden
24 Cyprus
25 Germany
26 Saudi Arabia
27 United Arab Emirates
28 Israel
29 Morocco
30 Canada
31 Finland
32 Australia
33 Chile
34 Denmark
35 Dominica
36 Costa Rica
37 United States of America
38 Slovenia
39 Cuba
40 Brunei
41 New Zealand
42 Bahrain
43 Croatia
44 Qatar
45 Kuwait
46 Barbados
47 Thailand
48 Czech Republic
49 Malaysia
50 Poland
51 Dominican Republic
52 Tunisia
53 Jamaica
54 Venezuela
55 Albania
56 Seychelles
57 Paraguay
58 South Korea
59 Senegal
60 Philippines
61 Mexico
62 Slovakia
63 Egypt
64 Kazakhstan
65 Uruguay
66 Hungary
67 Trinidad and Tobago
68 Saint Lucia
69 Belize
70 Turkey
71 Nicaragua
72 Belarus
73 Lithuania
74 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
75 Argentina
76 Sri Lanka
77 Estonia
78 Guatemala
79 Ukraine
80 Solomon Islands
81 Algeria
82 Palau
83 Jordan
84 Mauritius
85 Grenada
86 Antigua and Barbuda
87 Libya
88 Bangladesh
89 Macedonia
90 Bosnia-Herzegovina
91 Lebanon
92 Indonesia
93 Iran
94 Bahamas
95 Panama
96 Fiji
97 Benin
98 Nauru
99 Romania
100 Saint Kitts and Nevis
101 Moldova
102 Bulgaria
103 Iraq
104 Armenia
105 Latvia
106 Yugoslavia
107 Cook Islands
108 Syria
109 Azerbaijan
110 Suriname
111 Ecuador
112 India
113 Cape Verde
114 Georgia
115 El Salvador
116 Tonga
117 Uzbekistan
118 Comoros
119 Samoa
120 Yemen
121 Niue
122 Pakistan
123 Micronesia
124 Bhutan
125 Brazil
126 Bolivia
127 Vanuatu
128 Guyana
129 Peru
130 Russia
131 Honduras
132 Burkina Faso
133 Sao Tome and Principe
134 Sudan
135 Ghana
136 Tuvalu
137 Ivory Coast
138 Haiti
139 Gabon
140 Kenya
141 Marshall Islands
142 Kiribati
143 Burundi
144 China
145 Mongolia
146 Gambia
147 Maldives
148 Papua New Guinea
149 Uganda
150 Nepal
151 Kyrgystan
152 Togo
153 Turkmenistan
154 Tajikistan
155 Zimbabwe
156 Tanzania
157 Djibouti
158 Eritrea
159 Madagascar
160 Vietnam
161 Guinea
162 Mauritania
163 Mali
164 Cameroon
165 Laos
166 Congo
167 North Korea
168 Namibia
169 Botswana
170 Niger
171 Equatorial Guinea
172 Rwanda
173 Afghanistan
174 Cambodia
175 South Africa
176 Guinea-Bissau
177 Swaziland
178 Chad
179 Somalia
180 Ethiopia
181 Angola
182 Zambia
183 Lesotho
184 Mozambique
185 Malawi
186 Liberia
187 Nigeria
188 Democratic Republic of the Congo
189 Central African Republic
190 Myanmar

 

 

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