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US Healthcare – Obamacare – an extremely contentious subject!

Lies, damned lies and statistics some might say, including me from time to time; the difficulty here is that there is really nowhere to account for the harsh realities of the health of the citizens of the USA.

Collection of the relevant data is somewhat hampered but I have checked sources and reliability. There is undoubtedly a lag between expenditure and its effects.

Spending on a basis of GDP and adjusted for relative purchasing power is way higher than elsewhere. Life expectancy is significantly lower at the same time.

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This graph shows that the US is the only OECD country where private expenditure is greater than public expenditure. Figures are for 2012.

Health insurance is clearly the driving force here. Public health expenditure is, however, higher than the OECD average.

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These statistics cannot all be to do with burgers, pizzas and guns … surely!

Then one might assume that the state of the national health would be ok. The sad reality is that there is a dreadful gap in life expectancy.

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OK, some of it might be junk food.

In recent years, the difference in expenditure has become more stark. As Obamacare continued to roll out, costs in the U.S. reached an all-time high of 17.4% of GDP in 2013. That’s over $3 trillion spent on healthcare annually, and the rate of spending is expected to reach 20% of GDP by 2024 owing to Medicare enrolments and an ageing population.
US Defence spending is renowned for being larger than the combined total of the next 7 biggest spenders. Healthcare spending has tracked remarkably well in the face of this.

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I was very surprised by these metrics – the perception is very different
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Ritalin, prescribed for ADHD and narcolepsy

It is well known that the pharmaceutical companies are well-versed in the development of ‘conditions’ to provide outlets for their drugs – Ritalin is one of the obvious culprits – I have heard straight from the horse’s mouth that much as Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder does exist, the prescription of Ritalin has become an epidemic (bonanza) for its producers.

So, why do the people of the USA have such poor life expectancy in the face of all this spending?
Is there a clue in the child mortality rates?:

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This is an area of grave concern

The Measles, Mumps, Rubella vaccine commonly known as MMR has caused many an outcry – the outcries are, however, lame. Under one in a million problems and were there contributing factors?

If you are very concerned about the vaccine, you are quite at liberty to have each of the three administered to your child separately – your child then has to undergo three injections and, as a parent, you can bark about it at the next dinner party.

Across the spectrum of illnesses and conditions, US prescription costs are running at about $12,000 per beneficiary per year.
In the meantime, the USA has the worst mortality rate of children under 5 years of age.
There is however, the predictable correlation of ‘means’.

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It should come as no surprise that life comes at a price!

In addition, there should be caution exercised in the assessment of mortality rates as the US includes ‘pre-term’ babies, whereas most countries do not.

None of this hides the facts of life expectancy.
So, in conclusion, the US spends a lot of money on Health. The absence of a National Health system divides the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ in very stark fashion.

The drug companies seem to be having a field day.
I have long advocated that all Congress Members should wear jackets displaying their sponsors like NASCAR drivers.
Perhaps the doctors should do likewise?

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