Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Preventable deaths

You know, I get really tired of hearing people say that we have "the best health care in the world". Take a look at this Reuters article entitled "France Best, US Worst in Preventable Death Ranking":

WASHINGTON - France, Japan and Australia rated best and the United States worst in new rankings focusing on preventable deaths due to treatable conditions in 19 leading industrialized nations, researchers said on Tuesday.

If the U.S. health care system performed as well as those of those top three countries, there would be 101,000 fewer deaths in the United States per year, according to researchers writing in the journal Health Affairs.

Researchers Ellen Nolte and Martin McKee of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine tracked deaths that they deemed could have been prevented by access to timely and effective health care, and ranked nations on how they did.
In establishing their rankings, the researchers considered deaths before age 75 from numerous causes, including heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, diabetes, certain bacterial infections and complications of common surgical procedures.

They called such deaths an important way to gauge the performance of a country’s health care system.

The Republicans claim that if we have universal health care, the quality will go down. Well, France and Japan have universal health care and they are first and second in the world. And they spend FAR less that we do. Well, sure. They don't have insurance company CEOs outrageously profiting from what this nation spends on health care.

1 comment:

  1. Amen. I am a doctor's child. When I was young, in the days before Medicare, at least 25-30% of his practice was pro-bono. He was very much against "socialized medicine."

    Before he died in 1997, he had done at 180 on that. He said we needed universal, one-payer coverage for everyone with no insurance companies and that would greatly reduce costs. He said in the 1950's when he began, he could have never have imagined a system so expensive and profit driven that would cut so many individuals out of access to the health care services or medicines they would need. Further, it would have been unthinkable that a non-medical bureaucracy would be dictating how he could treat a patient--drugs, procedures, length of stay at hospital, etc. He was appalled.


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