US RATED LAST IN HEALTH CARE. Is America the worst of industrialized countries?


I'd like to know what the average American thinks. Is health care in your country really that bad?

Update 2:

SEMPER_P: Good idea! I should do some fact checking.... and I did. Heres what I found:

" In Measuring the Health of Nations: Updating an Earlier Analysis" (Health Affairs, Jan./Feb. 2008), Ellen Nolte, Ph.D., and C. Martin McKee, M.D., D.Sc., both of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, compared international rates of "amenable mortality"—that is, deaths from certain causes before age 75 that are potentially preventable with timely and effective health care. In addition to the U.S., the study included 14 Western European countries, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. According to the authors, if the U.S. had been able reduce amenable mortality to the average rate achieved by the three top-performing countries, there would have been 101,000 fewer deaths annually by the end of the study period. What is "right care?" if people are dying needlessly?

Maybe the reason this organization wants governmental control of the HC sys. is because they know it's not working?

Update 3:

I read the article on The author doesnt substantiate any of his claims. The whole article is based on his opinion. And it's also clearly a conservative website. William Bennett?

Update 4:

sayteach: WOW. Thanx for the response! It seems as though the disabled in the states includes someone that is sick to the point of not being able to work or being close to death? I'm in Canada and the term takes on a narrower meaning. Such as "Physically not being able to move". Or at least in my head it does ;>. For instance having a leg cut below the knee means youre disabled; you can't move around freely. If youre sick though we just say youre "sick". Even though by definition being too sick to move or work and not being able to move freely would should both equal disabled it just doesn't in my mind. That simple difference is an important distinction between our country's view on health care. Interesting!

But your first couple of paragraphs seem to be backed up by the study. Preventable deaths not being prevented. The disabled die waiting for insurance co's to hold their end of the bargan. I wonder if unitedHealth was hoping the person died before they could solve the case of

Update 5:

messed up communications problem?

10 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    OK, I've not read the study, so I note that it said preventable deaths in those younger than 75 was the category and I think I can explain a HUGE portion of the problem and it's because of GOVERNMENT MEDDLING and INCOMPETENCE.

    I suspect what blows our numbers WAY up there is those who are DISABLED. The public is told that the disabled can go on Medicare in the US. What the public does NOT know is the FACTS of how that system works--or actually does NOT work in the US. The disabled are THE group that is absolutely, unquestionably DISCRIMINATED AGAINST with total impunity.

    I am not talking about the people who lie to their docs to get disabled parking stickers, I am talking about the people who are REALLY ILL and have serious medical issues and SHOULD be on disability.

    First, with a couple of exceptions (such as ESRD--End Stage Renal Disease), it is virtually impossible to get ON disability in any reasonable length of time. You can NOT have worked for a year. Yes, you figure out how to support yourself for that year. You can then apply for disability and you WILL be denied. The vast majority are. You can appeal, and most likely that will be denied as well. Pretty much you will need to hire a Social Security disability attorney. He MAY be successful. He will receive 25% of the award you eventually get and by the time you're to this stage AND he can get you a hearing, you are probably out of work now 2 if not 3 YEARS and you have NO BENEFITS. You are NOT allowed on Medicare during this time period (unless you're 65). Remember, you're seriously ill and can't work, but you can't get help at this stage from Social Security. Can't be done.

    You MAY qualify for Medicaid in your state, BUT the asset limits are so incredibly low that if you were a hard-working person you probably don't qualify.

    When you finally get ON disability, you have NO access to Medicare until 29 MONTHS have passed. Then you have the Medicare premium. As you are actually disabled and need more care than someone who's just 65 or 75, you will need either medigap insurance to help defray that 20% co-pay or go on a more restrictive HMO or such that is offered for Medicare folks to reduce your out-of-pocket. Thanks to Congress, you will have LESS available to you in prescription coverage now that they created the asinine "donut hole" of coverage than you would have had a decade ago with a Medicare HMO. Meds are expensive and frequently NECESSARY to keep you alive, but hey, that's YOUR problem--just because you worked long enough to qualify for Medicare disability don't get any notions that the government is going to "rush" to help you out.

    "A recent study found that 39 percent of the disabled are uninsured for at least part of the wait for Medicare; 26 percent are uninsured throughout the wait. Some end up qualifying for Medicaid; some go bankrupt, and some die while waiting (Hayes, Beebe, Kreamer, “Too Sick to Work, To Soon for Medicare: The Human Cost of the Two-Year Medicare Waiting Period for Americans with Disabilities,” 11 April 2007, Michael Astrue, the Commissioner of Social Security, testified before the Senate on 23 May 2007 that there are nearly 738,000 cases awaiting hearing, with the average wait time 505 days. However, as Astrue noted, some people have been waiting 1,000 days for a hearing. By making those a priority they reduced nearly 63,000 such cases to around 14,000 in less than a year ("

    --Save America, Save the World, by Cassandra Nathan pp. 161-162

    When you've got people with REAL medical needs, and their income is zero (or whatever someone else in the family makes), and a solid quarter have NO insurance at all--and nearly 40% have NO insurance at least part of the time while waiting--is there ANY surprise that you've got an increased mortality rate? Can't be any reason for surprise with a RIGGED system like that.

    Here's another contributor to the mortality rate: the GREED of insurance companies.

    Read the testimony of Linda Peeno, MD who used to do this kind of dirty work for an insurance company:

    Look then at this recent story about United Health Care and NOTE that they are NOT unique in their heartless gamesplaying:

    "While growing into a colossus, UnitedHealth has repeatedly failed to perform its basic job of paying medical bills. UnitedHealth, which covers 70 million Americans, has been sanctioned in nine states for paying claims slowly; shortchanging doctors, hospitals, or patients; or poorly handling complaints and appeals.

    One Nebraska woman complained to state regulators that UnitedHealth's computers had incorrectly rejected claims related to her son's surgery six times.

    At one point, UnitedHealth owed Dr. George Schroedinger, an orthopedic surgeon, $600,000. He and his clinic sued UnitedHealth of the Midwest in 2004.

    Deciding for the clinic, U.S. District Judge Stephen Limbaugh of Missouri declared that the company's claims processing systems were "flawed in many ways, denying, reducing, and improperly processing claims on a regular basis. And despite innumerable requests, United was unwilling to remedy the underlying errors in its systems" (Star-Tribune Dec. 12, 2007).

    Payment troubles continued after the verdict, and Dr. Schroedinger filed a second lawsuit. "These people can never get it right, which says to me that they just plain lie," he said in an interview.

    Failure to pay isn't the only complaint. The insurer also gives incorrect information on which physicians are in its network, creating enormous problems for physicians' staff.

    The AMA said that no other insurer has prompted as many complaints as UnitedHealth about abusive and unfair payment practices. AMA officials have met with UnitedHealth executives 16 times since 2000, with little to show for it.

    "They have always got a new plan to fix it," said Dr. William G. Plested III, past president of the AMA. But "nothing ever happens."

    It seems to us that this case is just the tip of the insurance iceberg. More and more stories are appearing daily in the news media about how insurance company are instructing employees their jobs are to deny claims and/or delay payments.

    With such a high percentage of medical premiums and other costs going to the legal profession, to maintain compliance with endless government rules/regulations and being hoarded by the insurance companies and executives — is it any wonder medical costs are increasing so dramatically?

    It's time to take a closer look at the medical insurance companies.

    UnitedHealth Group is not the first medical insurance company to rob patients, hospitals and clinics to pay obscene salaries to their executives.

    It's a modern day robbing patients to pay pimps.

    Michael Arnold Glueck, M.D., comments on medical-legal issues and is a visiting fellow in economics and citizenship at the International Trade Education Foundation of the Washington International Trade Council.

    Robert J. Cihak, M.D., is a senior fellow and board member of the Discovery Institute and a past president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.

    That was a part of the article by the way.

    Look at how predatory lenders are allowed to move in on the most vulnerable in society:

    So yes, the US has a LOT of serious problems. Interestingly the "plans" proposed really don't deal with this--telling people to take out insurance when the companies are wildly corrupt is NOT a solution.

    BTW, the FREE MARKET does work. We have very accessible and affordable POCKETS of health care:


    plastic surgery

    walk-in clinics at Wal-mart, etc. where you can get treated for around $100

    A plan whose time has most definitely come is THIS one, but it's by a citizen, not a politician, so it's not getting attention:

    To summarize the sensible plan again, which should be reviewed here (and it is the PDF, NOT the blurb):

    It offers ALL Americans a catastrophic health care package for an AFFORDABLE price.

    Key points:

    ALL Americans are eligible (and yes, there would be the traditional breakdowns into categories by age, sex, medical condition so that accurate premiums could be offered).

    It is a CHOICE, not mandated with scare tactics and punishment—right now the UNINSURABLE are screwed again with things like “Must have insurance or we’ll fine you.” How about making a legit plan available to all before dumping on the victim again?

    Catastrophic health care package is ALL that ANYONE NEEDS. The actual purpose of insurance is to share risk so you avoid bankruptcy. This is NOT done at all these days. First, over half of all bankruptcies are for medical bills and most of those folks were insured. Thus the current system clearly does NOT work. Second, this stupid “if you’ve got a nice policy and a sniffle, stop by the doc’s and others will pay for it” runs up medical costs for NO good reason at all. Resources are wasted every day. IF people had to pay for their tendency towards hypochondria or refusal to follow basic sensible provisions, they’d be more likely to change their behavior.

    AFFORDABLE is key. Insurance is NOT now affordable and the UHC story helps shed light on why that is. This plan would use a sliding-scale for the premium AND the co-pays so that those who really are not making much money (be they students or folks just starting out in the work force or the retired or disabled) would not pay more than they can afford. There would be a REAL limit on out-of-pocket NECESSARY medical expenditures as well.

    Other key plan points:

    There would be one physical with follow-up visit per year as well as one ER visit IF NEEDED (how to prevent ER abuse is covered) for reasonable co-pays.

    The point here:

    Prevention is ALWAYS cheaper than waiting for a problem to develop. It is also the moral approach to medical care. By getting folks in annually we’d be able to save a lot of lives and improve peoples’ productivity. We could also review meds (or if they’re needed), keep people immunized appropriately, answer questions about nutrition and more, and have a baseline of info should the person be in an accident or fall ill. Again, with a reasonable co-pay, there is now NO good reason for folks not to see the doctor. The follow-up makes sense for anyone who HAS a medical issue. If someone came through with flying colors, he would not even need to use that follow-up. Not everyone needs the ER, but it would be sensible IF needed to not leave people SOL. This logical plan would address ALL the legitimate needs of probably 80% of the population.

    Another key plan point:

    Necessary medications are covered as well as NO caps on necessary medical treatments.

    Right now, we have BS like the “donut hole” of Medicare. This would be eliminated as would all fertility treatments, ED med coverage, and anything else which is not NECESSARY. This does not prevent people from receiving treatment for such things—let them find an insurance plan (this plan doesn’t stop others from being offered) or pay for it themselves, but there is no justification to make the taxpayer help someone have kids or sex. There is a reasonable reason for people on insurance to help those with cancer, strokes, heart disease, diabetes, etc. as this is far beyond a quality of life issue and goes to the heart of life and death. This is the same rationale for ending caps on legitimate procedures, like bone marrow transplants, which are quite expensive. Too often now a plan lies and claims something is covered, but by shunting off $25-250K on the patient to pay, that’s NOT a covered item in a rational person’s book.

    Funding IS discussed AND resolves another abuse of the taxpayer.

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  • Anonymous
    3 years ago


    Source(s): Kidney Health Solutions
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  • 1 decade ago

    It's pathetic, embarrassing and totally unacceptable. Health care in the US should be the best, but the insurance industry is ruining it. Most doctors won't even see you unless you can prove ahead of time that you have insurance, but most people are simply being priced out of the ability to have decent health insurance! Back in the day, the company you worked for provided insurance, but not any more. On top of that, even those with insurance aren't guaranteed proper care. Insurance companies can drop you at will, and usually do (Blue Cross is notorious for this) if they deem your care to be too expensive. There was a recent story of a girl with some sort of cancer, who could have, possibly, been saved had she had a liver transplant. But her insurance company said, since it was experimental, they wouldn't cover it. The girl died a short time later. This kind of thing shouldn't happen. Ever. How can some insurance company or HMo executive be able to decide the price of a person's life?! That is jsut flat out wrong and it terrifies me completely!! Health care should be a right, just as education is a right. And not just for the rich, which is how it's starting to be. The insurance industry has been allowed to run free and rape consumers for far too long. The government should have stepped in a long time ago and, hopefully, with Bush out, we will get a president who will have the balls to take this mess on.

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  • 4 years ago

    I have always had health insurance that was either completely or partially paid for by my employer. Dental coverage might cost me $15 a month. If you did come here and get sick, a hospital emergency room cannot deny you treatment even if you don't have the means to pay. The downside to this is that lots of poorer folks and immigrnats use the emergency room as their primary care facility. If your employer doesn't subsidise your health insurance, it can be extremely expensive, maybe $1000 a month for a family, and then you still may have to pay a fee for each visit, or part of the cost of the procedure. Both systems have their pros and cons, some kind of hybrid, like "free" healthcare and then you can also pick up private insurance if you want. Or you can continue to get it through your employer.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Why not do a little "fact" checking when you read something. The "study" was done by the Commonwealth Fund and if you look into how the study was done you will find out that the USA placed FIRST in "right care." Journalist John Stossel analyzed the report and you should learn the complete truth.

    The Commonwealth Fund promotes government taking over the healthcare and since ours is the only country in their study that does not have government socialized healthcare maybe the study might be a bit biased.

    Just getting your name on a list to receive a heart operation doesn't necessarily mean you have received adequate care.

    Sorry, while there are problems with our system (and it seems to be where the government is involved), the capitalist system is produces innovations and other furthering of treatments.

    Read Stossel's article then decide

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  • 1 decade ago

    The health care is great. It's the affordability that's the problem. 1/6 of Americans have no health insurance. Health insurance companies are for-profit. Their bottom line is making money not the health of the insured, so procedures or drugs are often not covered if the insurance company thinks they are too expensive. The result is that people with insurance don't get the care they need or if they do they are overwhelmed by medical bills and often have to go bankrupt. The free market system just does not work when it comes to health care.

    Source(s): Physicians for a National Healthcare Plan
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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    US healthcare is 37th in the world, below Costa Rica. The US is the richest country in the world, yet it's the place where a kid with an abscess in his mouth can die because his country would rather allow rich people to get even richer than provide him with affordable dental treatment that would've prevented his abscess spreading to his brain and killing him.

    Absolutely scandalous.

    France has the best healthcare system in the world. It's a nationalised system. One day the US might wake up to the wisdom of nationalised healthcare. One day maybe...

    To the guy below - 1 in every 3 dollars spent in the US healthcare system is wasted on totally unnecessary bureaucracy. If that sort of inefficiency is his idea of success then I don't want him anywhere near my money.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Pay no heed to hype...especially drive-by media hyperbola. They cannot sleep well at night knowing American medicine is not totally socialized and ruined.

    Most of the TV commedians make jokes about England's free dental care and how bad Brits teeth are, how they have to whitten their teeth in secret or be accused of breaking the law,etc.

    Canada's and England's healthcare is nationalized, socialized and the budget is observed even on life-saving treatments and procedures. Canadians come to the US seeking treatment all the time, more than willing to pay for it themselves rather than wait months or years for surgery or treatments.

    Brits complain a lot also. I don't know how many can afford to come "across the pond" with their own money. They pay heavy taxes on every dime the earn.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I don't know if I'm "average" or not, but I'm pretty satisfied with my healthcare. I get insurance through my employer. I like my Docs and as I'm a healthy person, I guess they're doing a good job with me.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Im not insurance is too expensive for me yet im overqualified foe any benifits.....

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