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50 U.S. Health Care Statistics That Will Absolutely Astonish You

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The U.S. health care system has become one gigantic money making scam, and you are about to see the statistics that prove it.  Today, the United States spends more on health care per person than any other country in the world by far.  The health insurance companies and the big pharmaceutical corporations are raking in gigantic mountains of cash and yet the quality of the health care that we receive in return is rather quite poor.  People living in Puerto Rico have a greater life expectancy than we do.  Residents of Cuba have a lower infant mortality rate than we do.  We are the most medicated population on the planet and yet we are also one of the sickest.  If the U.S. health care system was a country, it would have the 6th largest economy on the globe and yet rates of cancer, heart disease and diabetes continue to increase.  The U.S. health care statistics that you are about to read below are absolutely stunning.  For as much money as we shell out for health care, we should have the greatest system in the entire world.  But we don’t.  Something has gone horribly wrong.

As you read this, there are hordes of health bureaucrats and greedy corporate fatcats that are becoming incredibly wealthy while the rest of us go broke trying to pay for our health care.  In the United States today, health care bills cause more bankruptcies than anything else does.  Millions of Americans are afraid to go to the hospital because they know that even a short visit would be a huge financial burden.

Sadly, our politicians in Washington D.C. continue to make the problem worse.  Obamacare was one of the worst pieces of legislation that anyone has ever come up with in the history of the United States.  You could put a thousand monkeys in a room with a thousand typewriters for a thousand years and they wouldn’t come up with anything as bad as Obamacare.  Rather than doing something to address the abuses of the health insurance companies and the pharmaceutical corporations, Obamacare actually gives them more power.  In fact, huge portions of Obamacare are virtually identical to a bill that was written by the health insurance trade association in 2009.  Under Obamacare our health care costs will go up even faster and the quality of our health care will continue to go down.  So please don’t try to tell me that Obamacare is the solution to anything.

The health care system in the United States is so broken that it probably cannot be repaired.  The entire thing needs to be dismantled and completely reinvented.

If you doubt this, just check out the stats that I have compiled below.

As I put together this list of statistics, Business Insider proved to be a very valuable resource.  In addition, I relied heavily on the following articles which I previously authored….

*25 Shocking Facts That Prove That The Entire U.S. Health Care Industry Has Become One Giant Money Making Scam

*18 Ridiculous Statistics About Medical Bills, Medical Debt And The Health Care Industry That Will Make You So Mad You Will Want To Tear Your Hair Out

*The Coming Doctor Shortage

The following are 50 U.S. health care statistics that will absolutely astonish you….

#1 What the United States spent on health care in 2009 was greater than the entire GDP of Great Britain.

#2 According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, health care costs accounted for just 9.5% of all personal consumption back in 1980.  Today they account for approximately 16.3%.

#3 The United States spent 2.47 trillion dollars on health care in 2009.  It is being projected that the U.S. will spend 4.5 trillion dollars on health care in 2019.

#4 One study found that approximately 41 percent of working age Americans either have medical bill problems or are currently paying off medical debt.

#5 According to a report published in The American Journal of Medicine, medical bills are a major factor in more than 60 percent of the personal bankruptcies in the United States.  Of those bankruptcies that were caused by medical bills, approximately 75 percent of them involved individuals that actually did have health insurance.

#6 Over the past decade, health insurance premiums have risen three times faster than wages have in the United States.

#7 The chairman of Aetna, the third largest health insurance company in the United States, brought in a staggering $68.7 million during 2010. Ron Williams exercised stock options that were worth approximately $50.3 million and he raked in an additional $18.4 million in wages and other forms of compensation.  The funny thing is that he left the company and didn’t even work the whole year.

#8 The top executives at the five largest for-profit health insurance companies in the United States combined to receive nearly $200 million in total compensation for 2009.

#9 Even as the rest of the country struggled with a deep recession, U.S. health insurance companies increased their profits by 56 percent during 2009 alone.

#10 According to a report by Health Care for America Now, America’s five biggest for-profit health insurance companies ended 2009 with a combined profit of $12.2 billion.

#11 In the United States, health insurance administration expenses account for 8 percent of all health care costs.  In Finland, that figure is just 2 percent.

#12 Health insurance rate increases are getting out of control.  According to the Los Angeles Times, Blue Shield of California announced plans earlier this year to raise rates an average of 30% to 35%, and some individual policy holders were slated to see their health insurance premiums rise by up to 59 percent.

#13 According to an article on the Mother Jones website, health insurance premiums for small employers in the U.S. increased 180% between 1999 and 2009.

#14 Since 2003, health insurance companies have shelled out more than $42 million in state-level campaign contributions.

#15 There were more than two dozen pharmaceutical companies that made over a billion dollars in profits each during 2008.

#16 Each year, tens of billions of dollars is spent on pharmaceutical marketing in the United States alone.

#17 Prescription drugs cost about 50% more in the United States than they do in other countries.

#18 Nearly half of all Americans now use prescription drugs on a regular basis according to a CDC report that was recently released. According to the report, approximately one-third of all Americans use two or more pharmaceutical drugs, and more than ten percent of all Americans use five or more drugs on a regular basis.

#19 According to the CDC, approximately three quarters of a million people a year are rushed to emergency rooms in the United States because of adverse reactions to pharmaceutical drugs.

#20 The Food and Drug Administration reported 1,742 prescription drug recalls in 2009, which was a gigantic increase from 426 drug recalls in 2008.

#21 Children in the United States are three times more likely to be prescribed antidepressants than children in Europe are.

#22 The percentage of women taking antidepressants in America is higher than in any other country in the world.

#23 Lawyers are certainly doing their part to contribute to soaring health care costs.  According to one recent study, the medical liability system in the United States added approximately $55.6 billion to the cost of health care in 2008.

#24 According to one doctor interviewed by Fox News, “a gunshot wound to the head, chest or abdomen” will cost $13,000 at his hospital the moment the victim comes in the door, and then there will be significant additional charges depending on how bad the wound is.

#25 Why are c-sections on the rise?  It is because a vaginal delivery costs approximately $5,992, while a c-section costs approximately $8,558.

#26 According to the CIA World Factbook, the United States had a higher infant mortality rate than 45 other nations in 2009.

#27 The infant mortality rate in the United States is nearly three times as high as it is in Singapore.

#28 It is estimated that hospitals overcharge Americans by about 10 billion dollars every single year.

#29 In fact, one trained medical billing advocate says that over 90 percent of all the medical bills that she has audited contain “gross overcharges“.

#30 It is not uncommon for insurance companies to get hospitals to knock their bills down by up to 95 percent, but if you are uninsured or you don’t know how the system works then you are out of luck.

#31 Over the last decade, the number of Americans without health insurance has risen from about 38 million to about 52 million.

#32 People living in the United States are three times more likely to have diabetes than people living in the United Kingdom.

#33 Today, people living in Puerto Rico have a greater life expectancy than people living in the United States do.

#34 According to OECD statistics, Americans are twice as obese as Canadians are.

#35 Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid.  Today, one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid.

#36 The U.S. government now says that the Medicare trust fund will run out five years faster than they were projecting just last year.

#37 It is being projected that the federal government will account for more than 50 percent of all health care spending in 2012.

#38 Greece has twice as many hospital beds per person as the United States does.

#39 The state of California now ranks dead last out of all 50 states in the number of emergency rooms per million people.

#40 According to one survey, approximately 1 out of every 4 Californians under the age of 65 has absolutely no health insurance.

#41 According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers report, “inefficient claims processing” costs the U.S. health care system 210 billion dollars every single year.

#42 Today, approximately 40% of all U.S. doctors are age 55 or older.

#43 According to the American Association of Medical Colleges, we were already going to be facing a shortage of more than 150,000 doctors over the next 15 years even before Obamacare was passed.

#44 An IBD/TIPP poll taken back in August 2009 found that 4 out of every 9 American doctors said that they “would consider leaving their practice or taking an early retirement” if Congress passed Obamacare.

#45 According to a survey published in the New England Journal of Medicine, approximately one-third of all practicing physicians in the United States indicated that they may leave the medical profession because of the new health care law.

#46 According to a Merritt Hawkins survey of 2,379 doctors that was conducted in August 2010, 40 percent of all U.S. doctors plan to “retire, seek a nonclinical job in health care, or seek a job or business unrelated to health care” at some point over the next three years.

#47 According to the executive director of Physician Hospitals of America, Obamacare has already forced the cancellation of at least 60 doctor-owned hospitals that were scheduled to open soon.

#48 According to a report released in 2010, Americans spend approximately twice as much as residents of other developed countries do on health care.

#49 If the U.S. health care system was a country, it would be the 6th largest economy in the entire world.

#50 According to numbers released by Deloitte Consulting, a whopping 875,000 Americans were “medical tourists” in 2010.

  • McKinley Morganfield

    There are two factors involved: a.) sweeping advances in technology & pharmacology, and b.) federal intervention into healthcare. The first must be paid for by consumers and the second is a severe drag on keeping costs down.

    • aghinulfo

      Mr McKinley
      just two words: bull shit
      1The so called ‘sweeping advance in technology and farmacy’ does not explain as standard prescription drugs (ex:diabet’s insulin and similars)are so more expensive in USA than anywhere in the world.
      2 federal intervention is more and more pervasive in most US activities that cause cost raising to pay for more rubber stamps and their electronic equivalent.It does not explain because USA is at 52nd place in WHO statistical datas about population genral health. A LOT of different countries in the world have the same health level spending just a fraction of USA health spending.
      What explain it is the USA propension to sue everybody about everything and their pretension to avoid direct responsabilities.

    • GThompson

      To M. Morgan: I can get a catscan on a NEW GE machine in Dominican Republic for $90.00 each section, (so 270 for full body) with a full, detailed report. In El Paso, Texas, a 2 section Catscan ($180 in DR, above) cost $6200 to the insurance company, of which $1800 is paid, (I think the rest is a scam tax loss writeoff, but it also represents what the hospital would REALLY try to charge you without insurance. The machine costs the same to DR as it does here. Why the difference? Pure, unadulterated Rip Off in the US market. (and NO, the labor rate difference for the folks who run the operation does NOT make up $6000! Or even the insurance difference of $1600. Its our corrupt officials taking payoffs to allow these skanky insurance and pharma companies to rob us blind and drive up costs.

      • McKinley Morganfield

        The difference in cost is what doctors, technicians, nurses, janitors, food service personnel, secretaries, and so forth make in the US and what their counterparts make in the DR. And, I would guess there are far fewer medical malpractice lawsuits in the DR, thus doctors and hospitals have nearly zero medical malpractice insurance costs.

        I suggest you look at the profit margins of companies that provide medical insurance and the profit margins of pharmaceutical companies. It just might surprise you. Q: Are there ripoffs in the field of medicine? A: Yes, of course. Q: Where do the vast majority of medical innovations (technology, procedures, pharmaceuticals, etc.) originate? A: USA. Q: Why is this so? A: The profit incentive.

        • coolvyakti

          Mr Morganfield, what cutting edge “innovations” are you citing? Please name a single drug/innovation that addresses the underlying cause heals people, instead of merely remove symptoms, in exchange for three other deadly side effects. Is removal of symptoms an “innovation”?
          Most ailments in US are due to eating something that looks like food but is not real “food”. People have poor nutrition, even though they may be obese. Newer ailments have cropped up due to factory food, toxins all around us and due to our life styles choices dictated by the big oil and auto industries. The pharma companies are feeding onto these victims by their bogus innovations, which aren’t needed if you set the “basics” right.
          Read stats #19 above…”According to the CDC, approximately three quarters of a million people a year are rushed to emergency rooms in the United States because of adverse reactions to pharmaceutical drugs…” does that indicate innovation to you?
          We don’t have a health care system, we have a “sickness” system, or at best a “sick care” system.
          Health care should start with good food and nutrition and elimination of thousands of toxins in our environment…i.e. go back to the 18th century as far as food and environment goes…and most ailments will vanish without spending a dime. That is why many countries are far far ahead in health indexes despite spending very low amounts on health care.

        • Alex_G

          McKinley Morgenfield — regarding your last Q and A: here is a thought experiment. Suppose you are a pharmaceutical company that has to make a choice between the following two options A and B.

          A. to develop a cure against a deadly decease X.

          B. to develop a medication that would keep people with X alive for 20 years if they take it regularly, a pill a day, say.

          Suppose also that your only goal is to maximize the profits. Which option would you choose?

      • Zen

        Do you think it might also have something to do with all the free healthcare that the hospitals give away every day, that they make up for from their paying customers? How about the insurance premiums that doctors and hospitals have to pay to keep the attorneys from eating them alive? How about all the extra tests that doctors routinely order that aren’t necessary, but they get anyway to cover their behinds from getting eaten alive by the same lawyers. Morganfield has some points, as do the other responses, but to say that those are the only two factors is ridiculous. It is a complicated problem. Which might explain the 2300 page Obamacare document. I have a feeling we haven’t seen the end of this problem, maybe a few more thousand pages and we’ll get there. Yeah, thats the answer.

    • Paul

      The soaring cost of care is simple. The Big Insurance have to make a profit without providing any service toward medical care, They are a mere middleman with the primary goal of turning a hefty profit for investors. Profit driven healthcare only works in 3rd world countries where human life is worth very little. The USA is the only industrialized nation that uses this inhumane and expensive model. Research is primarily funded by taxpayers or start-up biotech firms. Big Pharma merely purchases them when they make a breakthrough. Bio Research outsourcing in short. We have the most pathetic tattered patchwork healhcare system, if you can even call it that.

  • Paul

    Well, the human body is only designed to last 40 years. Just enough to grow children.

    With proper education – what is healthy, what prolongs life, what shortens it, how does life work – and following trough on that knowlwedge – GET OFF THAT COUCH, healthcare could be much cheaper.

    • WM

      Only 40 years??? I am way past that now, I guess I have outlasted my “design time” LOL!!!!

      In all my years, I have not been sick ( Thank God!!). One reason may be that I eat reral good, excersize, drink lots of water.

      We were “designed” or as I like to say, Created to live forever. However, when SIN entered the world, corruption followed. Modern medicine is claiming to prolong peoples lives. They try to do this with lots of drugs and lots of surgery…….both of which are great income generators for the medical/drug industry.

  • gardener1

    “You could put a thousand monkeys in a room with a thousand typewriters for a thousand years and they wouldn’t come up with anything as bad as Obamacare.”


    Hear, hear!!


    WHAT A MONOPOLY!!HEALTH CARE IS. SO IS THE MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX.BANKING INDUSTRY,OIL INDUSTRY,CELL PHONE COMPANIES,HAS ANYBODY NOTICE THAT EVERYTHING IS FINANCED?? STUDENT LOANS CARS HOUSES FURNITURE EVEN BILLS GET CHARGE INTEREST!!SEEMS LIKE ALOT OF PEOPLE WITH SOFT HANDS TAKE ARE MONEY AWAY.BUT WHEN TSHTF I THINK US HARD WORKING PEOPLE WILL MAKE IT!!Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers. Woe unto you! for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them. Truly ye bear witness that ye allow the deeds of your fathers: for they indeed killed them, and ye build their sepulchres.

    • Zen


      Only if one choose to finance everything. Consumers have choices. One can choose not to finance everything. If so, they might have to drive an old car, live in a small house, and have crappy furniture for a while, but if they save what they would have paid in interest, eventually they should be able to pay cash for a car and furniture, and maybe they’d end up liking that small house. The problem most of the time, not all of the time, but most of the time, is the consumer that wants what they can’t afford, so they pay for it with next years salary, and the next years and the next years…



    • mondobeyondo

      Yes, of course! I always listen to those TV pharmaceutical commercials during the network news. And I sit back and laugh. (“Side effects may include nausea, constipation, cardiac arrest, stoppage of blood flow, and impending death. Contact your physician if you have doubts taking the CuredForever pill”…)

  • M. Karrel

    I agree with everything you say but one fact is misleading. Americans eat high fat fast food and lead sedentary lifestyles. Much more so than other countries. This breeds poor health and resultant high medical attention. Thus we poison our own bodies and then expect a doctor to give us a pill to make it all better. Our health care crisis is a product of a decadent and spoiled populace. Yes, big business is taking advantage of this fact and milking us for large profits. It is only going to get worse as our population ages.


    When you’re young, they’ll put you on Ritalin. Then, when you get old enough to take a good look around, you’ll get depressed, so they’ll give you Prozac. , your steady diet of trans-fat-laden food is guaranteed to give you high cholesterol, so you’ll get a prescription for Lipitor. Finally, at the end of the day, you’ll lay awake at night worrying about losing your health plan, so you’ll need Lunesta to go to sleep.


    THE DOCTORS TODAY WOULD PRESRIBE DRUG FOR THE SEVEN DWARFS!!Happy on Prozac. Sleepy on Ambien. Dopey on crack. Sneezy on coke. Bashful on Paxil (for social anxiety) Grumpy and Doc I’m not sure

  • Mainuh1

    Sweeping advances are a buzz-word for greed. How do you suppose pensioners that make $1,500 per month can afford $1,000 per month for insurance? The for profit health care industry is a sham and fraud perpetrated by greedy drug and healthcare companies. They make billions on the backs of suffering people in the name of advancing medical research and healthcare. One day there will be a reckoning.

  • Brady

    Wow… I hate how you can throw up these stats and people like me get concerned/angry/depressed etc. but the real question… What can some guy from Ohio (me) do about it? It seems like sometimes we just have to wait for the whole system to crash into this hellscape we’ve all been prepping for before and REAL change will happen. Strange times are here

    • Gary2

      don’t ever vote for anything even remotely conservative. They need to be liberal progressive. That is what you can do.

  • TK

    Great Post, this is a subject that must be dealt with by congress, but never will be because of $$$$.

    There was a time that good people went into healthcare to help their fellow Americans (1700’s-early 1900’s), and not to make a fortune.

    Now it is all about the $$$$.

    How to fix it? Make all aspects of health care not for profit. No more CEO’s making millions of dollars, no more health insurance companies making huge profits during a recession, no more congress men being bribed by the health care industry and pharmaceutical companies.

    Instead of having all that $$$$ going to a select few, use it for new hospital buildings in poor areas of our country that do not have any, use the profits to retrofit existing hospitals with new and badly needed equipment, use the profits to help the poor who can not pay for health care.

    These are just a few dreams of mine that will never become realty because of the love of money.

    1st Timothy 6:10-11 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows, But though, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

    • CatNap

      Price-fixing & wage-control isn’t the answer to anything.

      • Gary2

        uh, yes it is.

  • Alfred E. Neuman

    There is something truly insidious about health in the United States. While rampant and endemic corporate corruption effectively prices many Amerikans out of much-needed medical treatment, Congress WILLFULLY ENCOURAGES the development of chronic illness in the population by allowing huge food conglomerates to lace almost all foods with harmful additives like High Fructose Corn Syrup (definitively linked to obesity, high cholesterol and diabetes) and MSG (linked to hypertension and cognitive disorders in children). To add insult to injury, food manufacturers are then allowed to LIE about what’s in their “foods,” and mislabel HFCS (for example) as “Caramel Color” and MSG as “Natural Flavor.”

    Using these nasty ingredients saves food conglomerates only a couple of cents per unit manufactured, thus increasing profits long term. Big Agra cleans up financially, the corporate lobbyists are kept happy and the bribes to the bought-and-paid-for whores in DC keep coming — only the debilitated and increasingly obese public is the loser here.

    Want to get back at the “health” insurance industry and Big Agra? Read your food labels, folks! Eat whole foods, not processed ones, and buy local wherever possible! I educated myself about the corruption in the Amerikan food industry years ago and made a conscious effort to cut all their corporate-promoted poisons from my diet. That translated into a gradual and spontaneous loss of excess weight, a lowering of cholesterol levels and a decrease in blood pressure from hypertensive to acceptable — WITHOUT drugs of any kind.

    I guess that makes me a bad Amerikan, because by preventing myself from being chronically ill like all the flag-waving fatties out there, I have become a “deadbeat” (according to Mitt Romney) who doesn’t pay into the health insurance system and I am denying the stockholders of Big Pharma higher dividends, thus hurting “our” economy.

    So much for government promoting the general welfare.

    • CatNap

      You’re absolutely correct about the additives.
      Whipping up franken-food for Americans has been very profitable. Cheap to make, you know.

      I’ve often wondered what Average Annie and Joe American would do if they walked into their local supermarket and 3/4 of the aisles were gone. My advice to those who must shop a store to eat: Walk the perimeter of your grocery store for your meals. Buy food as close to their natural state as possible. Eat it raw when possible.

    • Gary2

      You know I used to think your theory was crazy but I think you are right and I was wrong. You may be on to something.

  • karen

    I just can’t still understand how people just don’t see the aweful collapse this country is in, where I work people HAVE NO CLUE WHAT SO EVER. None, how can people be so blind, the only thing that hinders mankind is their ignorance.

  • foldenfan

    Of course we spend more on healthcare. We eat the world’s worst diets of processed foods & GMO’s, not to mention the dangerous vaccines forced on our children, etc. We are literally eating ourselves to death.

    • Michael

      Very true

      • Too Many Fat Asses In The USA

        Just got back from hell (Vegas) for a conference. Around the pool, all these beached whale were Americans; all the lean people were from other countries. As an American, I was embarassed.

  • Duke

    You blame poor quality of medical care in the US as being worse than Cuba and the rest of the world. But you miss the fact that many Americans are so obese and do not take care of themselves and want a simple pill to get rid of all their problems. Thats a reason I did not go into primary care. Many patients dont even care about taking care of themselves and want everything done for them. No responsibility taken. Many of the article written on this site have misleading statistics.

    • Attila

      Very true, but I have found doctors are just as quick to dismiss food as a remedy and never let their patiences know how easy it is to treat common aliments with natural low cost alternatives, or maybe most doctors don’t know.

      Whether you are primary or not really makes no difference, you guys have really changed into something many of us now don’t want any part of.

    • Paul

      Blame the food..The problem always revolves around profits. Profit driven anything will delver as much as you want at a price…Food, healtcare, drugs etc.

  • Economic Hell

    Some of as we read Michael’s News reports, we try our best to envision what this economic collapse will look like when it hits.

    For some of us it is hard to imagine a United States very different from the one we already know.

    For others they seem to think it will be very Different but they really can not envision what it would actually look like.

    While stories tell a lot more then movies, sometimes it is important to view the horrors of an economic collapse so that when we come back to reading Michael’s Stories we have a better vision of just how serious this all is.

    We should be getting ready FOR WHAT IS ABOUT TO COME.

    Here is a visual link of economic horror:


  • JKLong

    As an Emergency Room RN I can tell you another astonishing fact. I am not to sure if this is just regional but at least 50% of what comes through the doors at this ER is complete nonsense that costs the taxpayers billions I’m sure. These “entitled” people abuse the system beyond belief. I have seen a 30 year old female with medicaid come into the ER for an upset stomach simply to get a prescription for Maalox so she wouldn’t have to spend money on the OTC version… The entire time she was playing on her IPhone. This crap happens daily. Ask any ER doctor and they will tell you they are completely burnt out.

    • Michael


      That is a really, really good point.


    • Otown Right Guy

      Most ERs in Florida are full of illegals.

    • RJ

      amen sister! I am also an RN, but instead I am work a dialysis floor. Guess what, when illegal aliens cross the border and happen to have kidney failure they get treated in our hospitals at an approximate cost of $3000.00 per day without added testing or complications. Many of these people are noncompliant with their own care but when they go home and abuse their bodies they come right back in a few days saying “save me, I’m dying” and we are required by law to do just that. Personal responsibility for your own health would go a long way in cutting health care costs and decrease the need for polypharmacy.

    • Missy

      ” am not to sure if this is just regional but at least 50% of what comes through the doors at this ER is complete nonsense that costs the taxpayers billions I’m sure.”

      Wow, isn’t that something. Thanks for the comment. The proposed OBAMA care is much much different than Canada’s healthcare, but it seems like down in the states you cannot even go to the doctor without first paying for it.

      Being Canadian, I went to the hospital only once in my 30 some years other than when I was born. I suppose it is like chocolate, if you have 30 Snickers in the cabinet, you don’t eat 20 in a day. You take one when you want one, or if you need it, because you have it there when ever you want. How it works in Canada, is we would pay $120 or so every three months for our health care, (or higher) and we could go to the doctor when ever we needed. (Of course chiropractic care, and massage, was different. -I think the provincial health care would pay a portion) Being in the states if I feel I need to get my doctors opinion, I know just seeing him for 15 minutes costs me out of pocket first, when I pay for health care INSURANCE each month!! Up in Canada I would pay less and have everything available to me.

      I am sure there are people who abuse the system up in Canada as well as you were commenting on the ER, but it seems like the system in the states is set up to be very sparse in coverage causing people to get desperate when it comes to basic care.

      This article was great Michael!

  • GT

    Obama care did not reform the system at all. All it did was put more on the taxpayers back. The system needs to be reformed and so do the US people.

    When is the last time you called around and asked for the price when getting medical services? We alwasy check the price stickers and haggle with car dealers.

    If you get a procedure done at a hospital ask for a itemized bill and audit it. The last procedure my wife had we found over 6000.00 in errors and the hropital had to re-invoice us. Do not take no for an answeer and tell the hospital you will not pay a bill until you get an itemized bill. Its the law.

    Do not assume just because you have insurance to are bring treated fairly. Most of the time they are overbilling your insurance. Which in turn raises your rates.

    Medical insurance the doctor pays if over 200k before they even see a patient and this needs to be reformed. This is the malpractise insurance. Insurance across the board needs to be reformed and should be allowed to be sold just like auto insurancce, but it is not as states have stupid laws that do not allow this practice. This would allow for more competition.

    Honestly malpractice suits need to stop if a person is misdiaagnosed. This is causing alot of problems look at the price a doctor pays. Sure now if a doctor performs a procedure and basically botches it he deserves what he or she gets. But no doctor can be 100% certain on every diagnosis.

    Defensive medicine needs to stop and there are saving to be had big time. But lawyers are the cause of this one.

    If a person is sick and does not run a high fever schedule an appointment wit ha doctor and quit going to the emergency room with a dam cold or a sore back. Big time savings.

    Be prudent and do not take your insurance for granted. You are paying for it and like anything else the more you waste resouces the more everyone pays.

  • Lisa

    I am not a conspiracy nut, but have been a RN for 20 years. All studies show that since the Feds imposed the SAD (standard american diet) on us, there has been a 30% increase in Diabetes, a 50% increase in heart disease, and all major types of cancer are on the rise. Now imagine all the drugs needed to treat these diseases, visits to health care facilities, and increased insurance premiums due to illness.

    It’s just one of the many ways our government has hurt us!

    • liberranter

      Don’t be too hard on yourself. The facts bear out your theory (as the late, great Murray Rothbard put it: “I’m not interested in conspiracy theories. I’m interested in conspiracy FACTS!”) Add to the big ag-promoted diet that’s based on starchy, carb-loaded grains the fact that most of these staple food crops now consist of genetically modified organisms (GMO), which the human metabolism cannot digest, and you have a whole host of problems that didn’t exist even a decade ago.

      Keep ’em fat, sick, and medicated – that’s the Washington-Big Ag plan for us sheep they intend to slaughter.

  • Edward Pomicter, MD

    The major fallacy of the healthcare discussion is that medical care produces health. Health and longevity are largely dependent on the choices that people make in their lives. Healthcare expenditures have no effect on “fixing” smoking, obesity, poor quality foods, exercise, stress, and risk exposure. Expecting a correlation between healthcare expenditures/access and quality of health/longevity is a mistake.

    If one plots obesity rates vs per capita healthcare expenses across time and nations, a consistent pattern emerges. As countries grow fatter, their healthcare expenses go up. I claim no causality (you can make that jump yourself), I only point out a strong correlation.

    If one plots per capita healthcare expenses in terms of ounces of gold (i.e real money), you will see that health care expenses are actually less today than they were in 1974. The problem is that per capita income in ounces of gold has dropped dramatically more.

    Medicine is not a free market and has not been for many years. Due to that, the normal signals of a free market that produce prices are absent. It is illegal for me to know what my “competitors” are charging. The assumption is that with such knowledge, I would collude with those competitors to fix prices. I would argue that I would like to be able to compete freely on quality of service and price without government interference.

    Far too much money and energy are spent on meeting government chicken sh#%. Look at any hospital or office and see how many people are working in administration vs actual patient care and you will see where your healthcare dollars are going.

    And yes, many of us are trying to figure out an exit plan. Atlas is shrugging.

    • Prognosticator, MD

      Here is a perfect example of where the free market fanatics run into a brick wall. Let the market determine your health care requirements. OK, you will be sickly but kept alive to feed the monster. Oh yea, and try making a “market” decision once you’ve arrived at emergency and they’ve stabbed your thigh with morphine…”can I see that price list….zzz”. Once your out they start running the meter. Don’t buy the lies – Canadian model is best, I’ve used both.

    • liberranter

      Far too much money and energy are spent on meeting government chicken sh#%. Look at any hospital or office and see how many people are working in administration vs actual patient care and you will see where your healthcare dollars are going.

      I’ve met more than one doctor who has said that the avalanche of paperwork BS involved in even the simplest medical procedure that involves insurance coverage (i.e., nearly all of them)is the most miserable and pointless part of their job. It takes a tremendous amount of time away from them that could otherwise be devoted to patient care.

      And yes, many of us are trying to figure out an exit plan. Atlas is shrugging.

      And who can blame him? While many Amoricons envision doctors as Jag-driving millionaires-in-the-making, the average doctor is just barely keeping his or her head above water. Combine staggering med school debt with equally staggering (actually, UNTENABLE) malpractice insurance premiums and salaries that have actually taken cuts at the hands of HMO bean counters, and your average doctor isn’t any better off than any other white- collar professional. Add to this the legal and bureaucratic shackles to be imposed by Obamacrap, and you have a disaster in the making that no one their right mind would want to be part of.

      • brainfan

        “the average doctor is just barely keeping his or her head above water.”

        BULL. I’ve worked directly with scores of doctors for over twenty years, as has my wife. These are physicians who work in hospitals and even family doctors who are the least well compensated. I’ve engaged in personal conversations about lifestyles, been to their houses, etc, etc. For all the expenses, they still live relatively opulent lifestyles.

        • liberranter

          I take it that you’re an entry-level orderly in a public hospital who subsists on something close to minimum wage and who lives in public housing. I can’t think of anyone else who would describe the average doctor’s lifestyle as anything close to “opulent.”

          • brainfan

            You’re wrong about my profession and I said RELATIVELY opulent. That’s compared to RNs, PAs, and other educated professionals as well as people like you.

  • We need to be careful about comparing infant mortality statistics, because not every country uses the same criteria to distinguish between miscarriages and premature live births. It’s quite probable that our efforts to save ultrapremies that other countries just write off and make comfortable until they die are dragging down our numbers.

    To make sure we’re comparing the same things, the best way to judge comparative infant mortality statistics is to look at full-term births, and then various levels of prematurity, rather than lumping all live births together.

    • Mary

      Leigh, your absolutely right. As a neonatal nurse practitioner, I know that every baby that has a heart beat and takes a breath is counted as a live birth even if they only live a few minutes. Most countries do not count these as live births, so it does skew the results.

  • Ser Korz

    Don’t worry ; be happy, go shopping and just say no to sickness. Can we just get along? Okay? OK!

    The DNA sciences will change our DNA and will be as a monkey and all will be fine then.

  • Bruce Almighty


    You’ve mentioned Puerto Rico twice in your article in comparison with the United States. Puerto Rico IS the United States: it has been a U.S. territory since the end of the Spanish-American war in 1898.

    • Michael


      Yes, Puerto Rico belongs to the United States, but separate statistics are kept for the territory of Puerto Rico.

      But the truth us that I could have picked a lot of other places to compare the United States to. Sadly, we are just not getting good results from the current health care system.


  • Richard Miramontes

    Whats even more troubling than these horrible facts is,that this is being done to us intentionally and has no happy ending.The “powers that be” are not going to give us a break!! Not only should we repeal “Obamacare” we NEED to Remove our current government from top to bottom,im sorry but a few honest politicians dont have a chance against the TRUE CORRUPTION that our leaders are doing.

  • Jan Rooth

    Single payer is the obvious answer. So why is it completely off the table?

    (Answer: because the politicians of both parties are wholly owned by the corporations.)

    • Otown Right Guy

      Go back to your commune. The obvious answer is the abolition of medicare, medicaid and ALL federal involvement in health care which is unconstitutional anyway.

      • Nexus

        You and people like you are the reason why the US is collapsing into its own self made hell.

        The FACT is that single payer approach is the most economically efficient way of administrating a health system – it enables a nation to take a national view of its health care that includes a range of health care strategies that are preventative and also consider the impact of new technologies.

        Reducing the discussion to juvenile comments such as ‘socialist’, ‘communist’, ‘commune’, etc, demonstrates a lack of understanding of and an awareness of alternatives.

        I live in Australia, lived in New Zealand, grew up in the UK and people in those countries do not go bankrupt because they are ill and we don’t have people with no health care – its not perfect but it has its merits.

      • brainfan

        The libertarian utopian myth grows by the day. The truth is, we live in a country where the corporations and the rich WILL get theirs. This will happen under a socialist system or a libertarian system or anything in between. Those who advocate abolishing medicare, medicaid, social security, etc are very stupidly advocating their own demise unless they’ve already established themselves as independently wealthy with an off-shore nest egg.

      • Kenji

        Hey Great idea… while we are at it, let’s eliminate Defense spending, Infrastructure spending, the EPA and Education spending to really allow the free market to be free.

        Healthcare IS Defense. Education IS Defense. Protecting the natural Environment IS Defense. Preserving Law and Order is obviously Defense. They are societal engines that enable growth and prosperity, not economic.

  • If we all took better care of ourselves, exercised regularly, ate better and maintained an ideal body weight all of this would be a mute point. Our system of health care is really set up as disease management. It offers nothing in promoting good health. Why? Because there is no money to be made in good health. 80% of doctors/hospital visits can be directly attributed to being overweight and sedentary. So if you want to put big pharma and insurance companies in their place and lower everyone’s health care costs stop making someone else responsible for your health take better care of yourself.

    • Single Payer Health Care will put ALL of the control into the hands of The State, and therefore also into the hands of Medical/ Industrial Complex, also known as a public/ private partnership, also known as Fascism, also known as crony capitalism. And fascism is just a modified version of collectivism where the well-being of the individual is secondary to that of the group.

      Of course, no group can be healthy if the individuals in it are not, which is one of the central failures of socialist central planning: the inability to provide truly individualized goods, services or in this case, health care.

      Instead of sound economics, which would include the best interest and well-being of the consumer, all decisions in a centralized, public/private, non-free-market will be based on politics and ill-gotten profits.

      Health Care needs to go directly back into the hands of the DE-centralized relationship between the patient and doctor, with TRUE free-enterprise, and undisturbed by the completely incompetent and destructive influence of The State.

      Medical schools need to free themselves of the vast influence drug and hi-tech medical and hospital companies exert on medical schools and training. Doctors who know more about true health care via nutrition, exercise and the many other life-style processes would FAR out-perform drug-based doctors if they were allowed to compete on a level playing field. Yes, some drugs are necessary, but nowhere near what we’ve got now.

      In part because of this high-profit influence by Big Pharma and hi-tech medicine, The State and The Medical/ Industrial Complex are the VERY LAST people you want having ANYTHING to do with determining the course of your health care. They’ve been running it almost fully since the 60s and partially since the 1920s. The results, like everything else the U.S. government touches, are beyond terrible.

      Foreign countries who had centralized systems are struggling to keep things afloat, as they’ve been running on borrowed money and credit for decades, and cannot do it anymore. They are going broke, just like us. And like some people who’ve worked in the health care system of Canada, England etc. say, it is true, if you want Grade C health care for everyone, national health care is really great.

      But for the few who really need grade B or A health care, they are out of luck unless they can afford to go around the System.

      Single Payer will destroy what’s left of the **health** in our health care system. I cannot imagine how an informed person could believe the U.S. government could actually be capable of delivering the health care that people really need, even if they wanted to. Whatever it’s deficiencies, the free exchange of free and informed people in the the market place is the best determiner of what gets provided to who for how much money or other means of exchange.

      Big Pharma and the FDA — and doctors trained in that vein — either will not, or cannot, tell you the full story of what you need to know to make informed decisions.

      • Nexus

        Ages since I read such a rambling and confused discourse.

  • mondobeyondo

    We are definitely not getting our money’s worth when it comes to healthcare. America’s citizens get “less bang for the buck”, than just about anywhere else in the world. Health care is becoming more of a priviledge and not a right.

    Is socialized health care, like they have in Britain, Sweden, etc. the answer? (Hoo-boy, here comes the firestorm!!) Well, in some ways I suppose it would work, but socialized health care has its downsides as well. I don’t want to have to pick a number at the nurse’s counter to wait for an angioplasty or something. “Here, have a seat, there’s a 7 month waiting list!” No thank you, I’d rather suffer.

    On the other hand, Obamacare would be a complete failure if implemented. Yeah, Aetna, Blue Cross, Big Pharma, and so forth, would feel very financially healthy. The rest of us common folk, would be screwed just like we’ve been screwed every other way – education costs are another great example.

  • Prognosticator

    Great article!! It is so true, here is a perfect example of where the free market fanatics run into a brick wall. Let the market determine your health care requirements. OK, you will be sickly but kept alive to feed the monster. Oh yea, and try making a “market” decision once you’ve arrived at emergency and they’ve stabbed your thigh with morphine…”can I see that price list….zzz”. Once your out they start running the meter. Don’t buy the lies – Canadian model is best, I’ve used both.

  • Nick

    The reason for the problems is simple and obvious: the complete absence of PUBLIC health care.

    The goal of PRIVATE health care is PROFIT. And you cannot have profit from poor people. So, you let them get sick or die. Statistics suffer, but who cares?

    • Otown Right Guy

      The quality and availability (remember house calls?) was much better prior to DC’s disastrous involvement in the form of medicare, medicaid, Don’t forget the hero of the left, Teddy Kennedy, was the architect of the HMO!

  • The HC system only treats the symptoms, so how can we heal. To take away all the cover-up drugs would bankrupt the big pharmas. This is big business. We will never see a cure for anything. Too much money to be made in drugging us.

  • Pat Isbell

    the stats only indicate what “everyone” knows, the system is broken. the biggest question is how do we fix it? obamacare was never the answer. government oversight has proven too inefficient and individuals dont have the power to make changes because of the size of the system. perhaps the best first step is to change the law that says that anyone who shows up at an emergency room has to be treated, regardless of ability to pay.

  • bobbobbobbob

    ever other country can controll their costs but the us!! sounds like a failed state to me also their populations are healther!!! remember the poorest citizen of england gets better treatment than the richest american.sounds like a bra(bananarepofamerika) U dont want O-care U want to die in the street. AS ALWAYS CHINA RULES– and will contribute mightly to the republicans and the blue dogs.GOD BLESSED the USA but no more……

  • A.B. Parker

    “#38 Greece has twice as many hospital beds per person as the United States does.”

    Great stats! But I’m not sure how relevant this one is. We all know Greece spent a lot of money wastefully.

  • richard Allen

    Another Big money making scam is Breast Reductions

    Just go look at the clueless wimmin who get them, 90% are unnecessary, but just like home loans where is you can fog a mirror you got them…..if you are barely a d cup and complain about shoulder pain the insurance company will approve it, or some wimmins group will sue for discrimination.

    That is stealing money from the rest of us who really have some health issues.

  • Dr. Lochridge

    Yes, I am leaving healthcare before 2013. I am 45 years old and cannot retire. I’ll be looking for a great paying government job with vaction time, sick leave, insurance, hard-ship leave, maternity leave, cost-of-living adjustments and the like. If you can’t lick-em, join em! Sadly in 2-5 years the US government will not exist due to it’s curious plan to destroy it’s fiscal base. Maybe then, I’ll get to practice freely as I hoped to when I went to school because all the bureaucrats who enforce fecal law upon us will be gone and I’ll just trade in real goods and services!

    • bobbobbobbob

      my son is a republicanterrost. he heads the icu. his salary he wont say. he dont want to pay taxes. he loves ronald r. an internist at the va makes 138000. not much even when u consider all the benefits. i dont believe u practice med. if u think that gov job is ok

    • hi doc, how are things?

  • J. Stevens

    Very alarmist article (and there is good reason to be alarmed). I’ve always believed that throwing stones is 1% of work but building with stones is 99% of the work. You seem to simultaneously condemn capitalism and government intervention. You point out many flaws but fail to offer a solution (other than “…dismantle the entire system and rebuild it…”) One solution would be to have the government provide a highly specified, minimal amount of preventative and catastrophic coverage to ALL Americans and free market, insurance companies offer supplemental policies to those who can (and wish to) afford them. Basic weak socialistic safety blanket to invest in prevention with capitalistic competitiveness.

    By the way, if those thousand monkeys are actually typing for a thousand years each – maybe we should adopt their healthcare plan…

  • Perry K

    If you really want to take control of your health, try a mostly whole plant food diet with very little coming from the “food” processing factories. You can trade smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, your favorite sugar-laden treats and life on the couch with their resulting endless doctor visits, endless pill popping and endless pain and suffering for a much healthier life. This will require that you stop listening to the propaganda coming from the corporations profiting from your excesses and weaknesses. Nobody is forcing you to eat the crap that they are selling to you.

  • El Pollo de Oro

    I’ve know a lot of American expatriates who’ve moved to Europe permanently—Americans in France, Americans in Italy, Americans in Spain, Americans in Sweden, Americans in Austria or Germany. And I’ve never met one expat who missed the horrors of the American health care system. Some of them lived in places with government-run health care like the UK, while others used the public/private systems in France and elsewhere. But either way, they were glad to have left The Banana Republic of America’s wretched health care system behind them—especially if they were over 40.

    And as Matt Taibbi has said, this country’s joke of a health care system won’t be getting any better. Medical bankruptcies will continue, Americans will die unnecessarily, life expectancy in the BRA will decrease. Demo-craps campaigned on “health care reform” but instead, gave us Romneycare (Obamacare/Pelosicare is really Romneycare because it is based on what Mitt Romney did in Massachusetts—although Romney, being the lying snake that he is, will never admit it). RepubliKKKans and Demo-craps are both whores for the health insurance industry; so don’t expect things to get any better. Expect them to get worse as health care costs continue to soar while income continues to plummet.

    The former USA is now a Third World banana republic for so many different reasons, and our nightmare of a health care system is at the top of the list. God help you if you get sick in The Banana Republic of America (formerly the USA).

  • Lisa

    You have to be careful when you use some of these facts from other countries. The US infant mortality rate is only rated so low because we actually count babies that were born and then died later as a live birth, other countries don’t add count that baby. We also treat more neo-natal problems than anywhere in the world,that also will result in lower mortality rates.

    • brainfan

      There is another reason for our infant mortality rate: we inundate ourselves with chemicals from conception to death. These chemicals are problematic enough for adults, never mind the developing fetus. They are born prematurely with various catastrophic health problems as a result. Our neonatal care is the best in the world, yet they are still ill-equipped to deal with it because we are not “allowed” to state the obvious: we have been increasingly poisoning ourselves for decades and the poisoners, the chemical companies and their front groups, like the American Council on Science and Health and Quackwatch, insist that these chemicals are safe when we haven’t the ability to perform long-term tests on them.

  • Unicorn

    The cost for healthcare for aging US prison population is on the rise.

  • Social Ills

    Big Pharma became profitable when they examined, studied and marketed social ills such as: anxiety, depression, pain, all part of the natural human experience and saw a way to make a huge profit from it by marketing them as a treatable illness.

    Just like smoking cigarettes was a way for early governments to get people hooked on a drug, have them crave it so they could tax it and deliver huge revenues to the states.

    But it backfired because the health care cost treatments for smokers proved to be one disastrously expensive experiment in rasiing taxes.

    Now the same thing will happen with Pharmacuetical drugs. Oxycotnin, sleep aides, anti anxiety meds, the marketing of these drugs will become a huge expense on society in the cost of reverse treatments, crime, murder more then the losey taxes collected from Pharmaceuticals.

    There is no conspiracy theory here.
    People, this is a rich mans game and soon very soon it is coming to an end.

  • Patriot One

    Did you know almost 60% of your healthcare dollars goes to regulation compliance and tort.

    Just get rid of lawyers and the government, Bam, healthcare problem solved. Where’s my easy button?

    • Gary2

      tort reform does not lower costs. More right wing bs. The malpractice insurance companies simply make more money. Study after study has shown this.

      Tax the wealthy to keep us healthy

  • Kuby3

    Bottem line: GREED is the triatorous act that is/has killed America !!! Greed now controls the power, NOT the people, result, the ruin of a the greatest nation. When will the truth be told, well I just said it, although I have no voice, and no country…

  • James

    When Obama first initiated the process for getting a new medical insurance plan, that would resemble what they have in Europe and other parts of the world. The Republicans and the Corporate Elite did everything they could to make the plan look like it does now. It was supposed to provide everyone in the U.S. with a good insurance plan that would cover everything. Everyone would be taxed like the Europeans for the health care system that would have been good for everyone. I couldn’t understand why if the health care plan would cover everyone, we needed to continue the Medicaid or Medicare programs. The money for these programs could have been redirected into this program to help with the costs. The Republicans, and the Elite, are Hellbent on destroying the middle-class and poor. If you want to survive, don’t ever vote for either the Democrats or Republicans again.

  • Gary2

    We will have single payer with in 10 years. This is from some repube on a talk radio show.

    I agree that it is inevitable.

    Every other country similar in wealth etc to ours has a form of single payer. Only a fool would think we are right and the others are all wrong.

    Tax the wealthy to keep us healthy!

  • 55 Year Old Rural GP

    I worked for the first 20 years of my career in the USA where I saw all of the corporate medicine atrocities mentioned above. Now I live in the 2nd world and work in a socialized medical system that produces fairly basic medical care with free hospitalization for everyone. But most Americans would be shocked at the condition of our facilities, limited services, and long waiting times to see specialists or have operations.

    Personally, what I do know is that I after tax, I am only earning a fifth (in buying power) of what I earned in 1985 as a inexperienced new doctor. Plus I must kiss the A** of all sorts of worthless bureaucrats, face absurd compliance requirements. All this is rather demoralizing, so GPs are bailing from medicine here too. I would go into farming, but the farmers are going to get saddled with a hefty carbon tax … Maybe I will say I am depressed and go on a sickness benefit, still the sweetest deal around, could go fishing.

    What can I say? It is 2011 everywhere and it sucks.

  • get this im a disabled american who suffers from a chronic condition. ok the last 5 years i have been on older oral medications that my medicare pays for,, they are fairly cheapcost about 380.00 a month not bad for a diablig condition. now that its worsened some over time my doctor reccommended an injectible medication 4 me this shit cost 4000.00 for 2 uder the skin injections my tax payer funded … medicare pays 62 pecent of that 4000.00 cost.. my co pay is 1300.00 if i go and apply for medicaid its almost free co pay 0f 3.00 no joke i know its good for me and all but does it really need to cost that much??? come on here the drugs iwas on were prednisone and older steroid drugs designd around the 1950s era im astounded myself and the new stuff has a cancer risk rate too …

  • PharmCo.

    4 reform asked:
    “but does it really need to cost that much.???”

    Yes 4 reform it does need to cost that much.
    Why you ask?
    Well for one thing, can you make a drug in your basement that treats your illness?
    Others are making it for you, and they do not work for charity, It takes brain power, education cost, Yes Medication costs a fortune but that money is not solely for the end product, most of it goes into future research of drugs to help others as well.
    If you do not like paying high prices for the Medications and in so doing paying for future research Scientists salaries, marketing and packaging of the products, then by all means stop talking the med.
    Oh i forgot you will die if you do.

  • SteveW

    I wish you had mentioned staff salaries a little more. Aside from the growing number of overpaid admins, nurses’ salaries have skyrocketed in the past few decades, thanks to their lobbying for the Certificate of Need program – which limits supply and prohibits competition. Nursing used to be a lower-middle class vocation of service and now it is a govt protected road to the upper middle class, with nurses in big cities getting well into six figures. No one likes to mention this because they are afraid to attack the image of these “humanitarians”, but that image is no longer appropriate. They are now as much economic rent seekers as govt workers or banksters.

    • Ignorant

      Steve you wouldn’t last a day on the nursing floor, you would run away if you saw what we have to do for a living,
      no money in the world is enough, but a decent wage yes.

    • Paul

      I am sorry but you are so off base it is pathetic. I have lived in Canada and the USA. First I would like to kill the false premise that people from Canada go to Detroit for care. Simply not true. Why not address the issue that Detroit or Michigan in general has one of the highest uninsured population in the USA. Secondly all Canadians get care and have the FREEEDOM to go to any country in the world for elective services if they want to pay. We in the USA have no such freedoms. The biggest problem Canadians face is fraud. Americans, Mexicans,central American trying to accesses the Canadian healthcare system illegally. All the provinces have made it very difficult to forge the healthcare card, as most now are Biometric. As for breakthroughs in research, again you are behind the curve. Yes 20 years ago that was the case, but now it is not. Due to our wonderful and costly educational system we no longer have the brightest and best researchers. We are eclipsed by most industrialized nations and India p[er capita. Also most of the latest MRI’s, Pets, etc are made overseas.

  • Dr.Norman

    Your recent column on US health care statistics was interesting but somewhat deceptive. If I said my estate has doubled in size when I went from $1 to $2 it would be similarly deceptive yet true. The US spent in 2009 more than the Great Britain GDP-if the medical budget is 1/6 of our GDP and we are six times larger than Britain than we are spending the same as them.! I was in practice for 46 years and never sued but my malpractice coverage cost $100,000/year. Do you think that affected my charges? Add to that the expense of practicing”defensive medicine” and you begin to understand the expense of health care. Health insurance companies and their executives earn phenomenal incomes but don’t practice medicine – how is that reasonable? 3/4 of a million people go to the ER because of drug reactions – that’s less than a quarter of 1%-pretty good if you are worried about incidence of side effects from these very powerful drugs! Then there is our relative cost for drugs. It costs now over a billion dollars ($1,000,000,0000)to get ONE drug on the market! Since the patent on the drug starts running almost immediately after the drug is first synthesized and since from that time to marketing takes from 8-12 years for the typical drug, and since the drug company starts having income when the market starts, they have to make up all their expenses + cost of product + profit + return on investment for their stockholders in just a few years, it seems to me to more than explain the necessity for a high price. Why are drugs cheaper in Canada,etc.? The Canadian government and the others will only pay the drug company what it costs to make each pill plus a small profit on that. That means that the expenses of developing the drug are not reimbursed outside of the US. That means that Americans are subsidizing the medical expenses of the rest of the world by paying all these additional and required expenses while the rest of the world pays only for each pill alone. This explains why almost every new drug, every new medical device, every new diagnostic tool (CT,MRI,PSA,etc.) is developed in or mostly in the US. The drugs and other medical treatments that we have now have raised the life span from 65, at the time of FDR (when social security was started) to 80 now! I don’t hear anyone volunteering to die at 65 so they can get cheaper medical care. With regards to Nationalized Medicine be aware that Canadians come to Detroit for emergency heart surgery because if they go on a Canadian government list they will die. With regards to Drs. incomes, I worked 16-18 hrs./day 5 days a week and almost that much on weekends when I was a practicing surgeon. It wasn’t different for me than other Drs.-I know some who work harder. Some years ago I calculated that per hour the AMA’s “average doctor” made less per hour than the “average” transcontinental truck driver. As one of my colleagues remarked when a basketball star got an immense salary contract “I have to save 3 lives to make as much as he gets for one basket!” All of the recent changes are forcing us old guys out of practice and fewer youngsters are going into medicine and STAYing there. Would that be true if it was so lucrative? Following this financial newsletter, one weekend I made as much profit as I have made in my ENTIRE surgical career. Where are you going to be able to find your Dr. when you get sick? Drive to Canada for your headache?

  • harry tuttle

    Before Obama had got in, US *Government* health programs (state and federal combined) already spent more money per US citizen than the UK’s National Health Service does per UK citizen.

    I just got my hand badly bitten by a dog 2 weeks ago. I have no health insurance and no form of official identification whatsoever. I walked up to the hospital at 3am, got seen within the hour and had 6 stitches, a tetanus shot and a course of antibiotics, codine and diclofenac given to me on the way out.

    This cost me absolutely no money whatsoever, I had no paperwork to do, and my hand is healing up nicely.

    And my local hospital is renowned for being a bit crap by UK standards.

    • mondobeyondo

      Here in the U.S., you would probably be billed about $4,000.00 for the same treatment you got for free. Don’t worry, your insurance company will be sending you the paperwork any day now.

      • harry tuttle

        Is also nothing in comparison to the work I needed done after falling 30 feet onto concrete.. got my entire left arm put back together including 4 hours in surgery rebuilding my wrist. I also had full one-on-one physio to get me walking again as I had fractured my pelvis as well.

        Not only was this all entirely free, but after leaving hospital you get financial benefits and rent paid until able to go back to work. This is absolutely standard over here.

  • Gary

    If the US fixes its healthcare problem, GDP will shrink by 15% and unemployed will increase by 10 million. Now you know why no one wants to solve the problem.

    • harry tuttle

      Sorry, but that sounds like a large steaming pile of plant food.

      How can a national health system be bad for the US economy when your biggest cause of personal bankruptcy is the lack of one?

  • Matt

    A year ago I was bitten by a feral cat and the bill was $7000. ER visit, Rabies shots, Doctor visits, prescriptions. I have Blue Cross as primary insurance.


    Independence is a condition of a nation, country, or state in which its residents and population, or some portion thereof, exercise self-government, and usually sovereignty, over its territory.


    Independence NOT!!!!!!!

  • When will the United States of America wake up and realize the the English medical system benefits everyone except the health insurance industry and the pharmaceutical industry.

  • Useful informatiоn shared..I am thrilled to read this artiсle..thank you for giving us nice info.

  • See link. My experiences and research prove that the US is very polluted, and its health care system continues to deteriorate.

  • Roberta

    We can fix the world by taking the lawyers out of
    office and not allowing any lawyers to obtain any office higher than “dogcatcher”!!!

  • DamDaMan

    Debt creates wage slaves. Medical bills create debt. Processed food (along with a plethora of other absurdities promoted in America) create more trips to the medical roller coaster ride we call the American health care system, thus more medical bills for Americans, and thus more debt. Insurance and pharmaceutical conglomerates promote sick and dying people. If our GDP rises because of health care costs, it doesn’t mean our country is doing better. It just means we increased our # of sick and dying people in this country… and that is what they want. There is no $ in a cure for a disease, all the money is in prolonging the disease, and that is why we wont cure cancer, aids, or anything of that nature tell the system is fixed. A complete overhaul of the entire system is needed to do this. Not just the medical system, the whole system. Slavery is but the owning of labor, and debt creates wage slaves working for the banks. As long as banking cartel can keep us in as much debt as possible to make us into there slaves, no solution to a medical industry gone array will emerge. Dismantle the central banks of the western world and free yourselves from the Tyranny of the evil men that have SUCCESSFULLY enslaved the planet. Then, and only then will our health care system have any chance of being fixed or improved upon. Until then it will be a never ending dog a pony show, put on by congressional puppets, and funded by the industrial elite. There is solutions to the problems of our society, only $ needs to be taken out of the equation first. Open your minds and free your hearts or forever be the slaves of evil men. The revolution is now!

  • Cynthia Savage

    I would take any doctor’s attitude survey with a huge grain of salt. I am a doc and I hear them complain all the time-If I had a dollar for everytime I’ve heard one complain about insurance, Medicare, DRGs(from the 80s), managed care(from the 90s), mandatory EMR (current complaint), I COULD retire. The truth is, they like to bitch. Doctors have the lowest rate of retirement savings and planning (due to high educational debt and high expenditures once they have money). They enjoy having more autonomy than most people have at work. Plus, they get a lot of deferential treatment-“Doctor”….doctors in practice now aren’t going to retire once Obamacare comes online. Hell, I still hear the older ones bitch about Medicare as they happily accept payment from Medicare

  • Wayne Cosby

    This is one man’s testimony. I am 70 and in excellent health and take no medications. I have followed a disciplined natural health program (diet and exercise) since my early thirties. My most serious problem has been the removal of a skin cancer a few months ago. I do not have a family doctor and have not even been for a checkup for nearly 20 years (and even then, it was job related). My point is that I know from personal experience that it is possible to maintain excellent health without going the route of medications and treatments. However, I still feel trapped by our corrupt system. I pay for Medicare insurance and supplemental health insurance only because of the hammer they have over my head that if I get into an accident and get terribly injured, the medical system could take everything I have, and I would be ruined. So even though I am spending almost nothing on medical matters, I still feel like I am a victim of the system, and too much of my retirement income is being taken by the insurance companies. I agree that our medical system should be dismantled and reinvented–I just don’t realistically ever see that happening.

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  • murphyj87

    Of course a single payer system (totally eliminating insurance companies altogether) would be better than Obamacare. People who live in nations with single payer systems outlive you Americans with heavily rationed insurance run health care by almost 5 years.

  • Once I saw the ‘Beginning of the End’ and realized this was ‘the economic collapse blog’ I figured why waste time reading or trying to change the system because…It’s The Beginning Of The End…see ya in paradise.

  • jennyct

    Wow. Even 12% of seniors declaring excellent health is scary!

  • dee

    Everything in healthcare is a joke, and we have not seen the worst yet …..

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