The Health Care Missing Link

How can it be that most Americans don’t want anyone to “mess” with their healthcare?  Why do so many Americans think the US has  the best healthcare in the world? And, why do Americans instinctively convulse when the benefits of universal healthcare, such as found in Germany, France, Japan and about 20 other countries, is offered as an improvement for the US?

Ignorance is a credible answer.  By ignorance, I mean most Americans do not know that US health care is generally twice as expensive as any other modern industrial country.  On the same page, Americans do not know that health outcomes, for instance life expectancy, is greater in all these countries spending less than half the US.  And most Americans do not appreciate how much the quality of US healthcare varies from place to place.  (If we overlook cost, the Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins, and a few dozen other top notch teaching institutions are the best in the world.  The problem is that they represents the peak, not the average.  Most Americans receive very average healthcare at very high prices.)

How can Americans come to recognize there are better Healthcare models?

For most open minded Americans, simply reading widely available literature should be sufficient.  Unfortunately this is not natural when you already hold the idea that American healthcare is great.

A less direct method involves logically thinking about ones individual health.  Generally when we are young, health care issues are few and relatively inexpensively treated.  We know this from experience and we know this from insurance costs.  Young, single individuals are insurers’ dream.  Next comes young marrieds with young families.  Then comes almost anyone without any “pre-existing condition”.  And most of us know that individuals with chronic health conditions and in advanced years generally cost a lot to insure.

But wait.  Isn’t it natural to progress from young and healthy to old and less healthy?

So, here’s the missing link.  The US healthcare systems sees each individual as discreet as opposed to seeing all Americans as the average.

The US spends about $9,000 per person per year.  A family of five represents $45,000 in annual healthcare cost if the average were considered.  This sum is almost equal to the average income of Americans.

For sure there is still a long way to travel for the US to achieve worldclass healthcare and health care cost.  But the first step has to be the recognition of the life span evolution of ones health care needs.  When the current average price is bluntly looked at, Americans should slowly come to the realization that we can not afford the current US system.  While Americans may worry, systems found in Germany, France, and Japan could cut the cost and deliver as good or better quality.

The missing link is the first step on getting control of health care myths and ending the notion of the free lunch.


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3 Comments on “The Health Care Missing Link”

  1. […] The Health Care Missing Link ( […]

  2. List of X Says:

    But if you provide substandard healthcare and health insurance, it increases the chance that those who are “young and healthy” never progress to “old”

    • X, good point.

      Compared to third world countries, pretty much all of US health care is superior, although far more expensive. The unrecognized aspect of US health care is the wide variation in coverage two people can receive depending upon where they live and what their insurance coverage might be.

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