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The American Health Care System

The American Health Care System

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Published by jstreet

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Published by: jstreet on Feb 05, 2010
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05/11/2014

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The American Health care system is a complex problem waiting to be solved.

First, we have a three tier system in America:

The wealthy one or two per cent of Americans get the best care in the world.

The next twenty percent, or so, get pretty good health care in systems such as Kaiser or the VA Hospital system.

The rest (I don't know the exact figures for level 1 and 2) get inadequate treatment.

Health care for the elderly and for cancer patients is the worst. Some state of the art treatments for cancer cost more than a million dollars, for example.

Consider this example, taken almost at random: if you lose your leg in a non-insured accident, a top of the line prosthesis costs around $40,000 and only lasts for about ten years. The next level of prosthesis cost around $8,000 and is dangerous because it collapses easily and is far more difficult to use than the $40,000 models. Far too many Americans can't even afford the cheaper prostheses and are confined to wheel chairs. The percentage of amputees who don't have adequate prostheses is much larger than most people believe. Even Kaiser does not usually give the best prostheses to its members and it is one of the best HMO's in the country.

It is not clear that Americans can afford a program that will pay for very high quality medical care for all, unless we change our life priorities (smoking, overweight, bad diets, lack of exercise, etc.)

The money just isn't there to cover the medical cost our unintelligent life syles unless the young are willing (or forced through taxation) to pay very high insurance premiums.

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