Sick Around the World

by chickpea 2 Replies latest social current

  • chickpea

    Sick Around the World
    Tuesday, April 15, 8:00pm Local PBS Station ( check listing for time)

    T.R. Reid examines the health-care systems of countries including England, France, Germany, Japan and Switzerland for ideas on how to improve care in the U.S.

    it is on at 8 on my local station....

  • WTWizard

    Could it be because the drug companies and the FDA band together to ban alternative medicine? The truth is that modern medicine has made very little to no progress in finding cures for diseases. True, they can diagnose them better than ever. But, what good is improving your "five year survival" of cancer if the improvement is because they diagnose you that much sooner? A diagnosis 4 years in with one year to live does not sound as good as diagnosing it as soon as you get it, with 5 years left to live.

    The result is that we take way too many drugs. It has been in the news lately about polluting the water. But, does everyone need to be taking statin drugs? They tell about high cholesterol. Then they find that people with normal cholesterol also get heart attacks, so they lower the cutoff so they, too, have "high cholesterol. Result: The whole population has "high" cholesterol. And lowering it has little or no impact on their general health--they do not live longer as a result of taking all those statin drugs. Notably, they are puzzled about why some people with very high cholesterol have no arterial blockages.

    What this does is drives up the cost of medicine for everyone. People pay about $100 per month for drugs that they need for their whole lives. Even if insurance pays, they still pay with higher prices for goods or with higher premiums. Or higher taxes. (Note that some drugs are even more expensive.) And that is just one prescription. It is not uncommon for people to be taking more than one prescription drug for a maintenance of a chronic condition. Drug companies know this, and so they jack up the prices of their drugs. The result is that our health care costs have gotten way out of control, and no universal insurance is going to fix it (it will, however, jack up your taxes).

    What is really needed is free market competition. Those with chronic conditions deserve to know what causes it and how to avoid food ingredients and lifestyles that cause or aggravate the disease. People deserve to know if there is crap in the food that is put there on purpose to addict them to that food and make them fat. People deserve to know if that muffin or biscuit has hidden sources of free glutamate, and if that "25% Less Sugar" Nesquik actually has Neotame brand sweetener in it. Give them the ability to avoid such products (and the freedom to continue consuming them, if they feel the benefits outweigh the risks). Enough people will choose better foods, and much of the health issues will abate.

    And better medicine. I am tired of these fundraiser drives for disease research foundations that repeat every year. And they know they are not working on a cure--they are working on a new drug that is marginally better than this year's. (If they did find a cure, that would cancel next year's fund drive and cut off the funding). That's why I do not support JDRF--they have been doing that for as long as I remember, and still no cure. Instead, the free market would work toward finding real cures, instead of patches. People would have access to sources that could give them insight on their medical problems, and be able to choose better medicines (or, if they are more comfortable, they can still use existing treatments). And then the problems with diseases that need costly management for decades would abate, while the drugs would still be around for those who need or prefer them.

  • chickpea

    well, i think you make interesting points about the state of medical care in the US, WT, but that was not the thrust of the program.... the investigative reporter, T.R.Reid, travels to 5 capitalistic democracies to investigate the healthcare systems.... two of which he used when living with his family in briatain and japan

    T.R. Reid is a veteran foreign correspondent for The Washington Post, a commentator for National Public Radio and the author of nine books, including three in Japanese. He is currently working on his 10th book, titled We're Number 37!, in which he compares America's health care system to others around the world. It is scheduled to be published by Penguin Press in early 2009

    this link gives the scantest overview of what other countries are doing to provide healthcare to their citizens..... none are perfect, all are flawed and yet no family is in bankruptcy over healtcare costs, estimated for americans at 700,000/year ( called a scandal by the president of switzerland) and no one has to wait for their health to deteriorate to critical before receiving care, or lose their coverage if they lose their jobs

    it obviously was meant to further the dialog as to what the US might do in order to step up to the plate....with concluding remarks indicating putting it off only makes it harder to remedy

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