25. June 2005 · Comments Off on Health Spending IS Defense Spending · Categories: Social/Culture · Tags: , ,

Sometimes I hear the argument that the federal government should spend money on defense but not on health care. Since this notion seems to reside more predominately in the young conservative sectors of our population, in which the desire for beer, whooping and hollering far outweighs the need for medicine, I assume it’s self-interest that drives this consensus, but certainly, the fingers point to the Constitution to find validation.

Indeed, the Constitution strongly prescribes a military defense while making no mention of health care at all. I suppose that’s all that can be seen by those who can only read the words but fail to embrace the soul of the Constitution. For those who think of the Constitution as more than a collection of words or a mere excuse for their own self-interests, there is more to look at.

First of all, there is the core of our doctrine upon which everything else revolves… Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Secondly, there is the time at which the Constitution was ratified… 1781, that’s 224 years ago. The military was provisioned in the Constitution because it was the only weapon that our founding fathers had at their disposal to fight the only enemies of doctine that they understood. Since then, we have discovered how to fight more of these enemies, such as disease, which statistically, has always been a bigger threat to our doctrine, especially Life and the Pusuit of Happiness, than any foreign army has ever been.

Heath care was left out in 1781, because it didn’t exist back then. The closest thing they had then was leeches and prayers. If the authors of the Constitution were alive today, I bet they would be drafting an amendment right now to include provisions for healthcare, because it serves the same purpose that the military does. To defend us from the enemies of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

20. October 2004 · Comments Off on Poor Healthcare Worse Than Terrorism · Categories: Politics, Social/Culture · Tags: ,

Since the election campaign seems to be so centered on the dangers posed by terrorism, I’ve decided to take a look at what dangers we really face. According to the U.S. State Department, the average number of deaths per year from terrorism from 1995 to 2003 is 775. How does this compare with some of the other dangers we face? How about the failing health care industry that Bush is so interested in protecting?

The John Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health estimates there are approximately 250,000 deaths per year from iatrogenic causes (causes induced by a physicians activity, manner or therapy). Broken down into specific catagories and compared to deaths caused by terrorism, this is how the numbers stack up…

The cause, according to the Institute of Medicine, is not so much recklessness on the part of doctors, nurses and other health providers as it is basic flaws in the way hospitals, clinics and pharmacies operate.

For instance, doctors are notorious for poor handwriting, too often leaving pharmacists squinting to decipher the dosage, the terminology makes things worse, “milligrams or micrograms?” And too many drug names are confusingly alike. Consider the painkiller Celebrex and the anti-seizure drug Cerebyx; or Narcan, which treats morphine overdoses, and Norcuron, which can paralyze breathing muscles.

To read more: (Doctors Are Third Largest Cause of Death in the US…)

The article also discusses how the US health statistics rate poorly compared to other developed nations – 12th out of 13 compared. the article also dispells the myth that this poor performance is due to the personal choices Americans make by presenting the data that reveals that Americans, on average, make better choices than people in many of these other countries. So it comes down to a system that should really be fixed. It seems that these studies are not only spitting out disappointing statistics, but they are indicating that the system can be fixed and how it can be fixed.

But what kills me, is how the Bush administration is trying to fix health care by limiting our ability to file lawsuits. What – are we relying on bean-counters to solve medical problems now? Sure, frivolous law suites are a cost that can and should be reduced but you can’t call a law suite frivolous simply because the financial claim is above a certain limit.

If 250,000 Americans die every year from a sub-standard health care system compared to only 775 from terrorism, wouldn’t it make sense to assume that we could be saving many more lives by putting money into the health care system instead of funding a war in Iraq?

18. February 2004 · Comments Off on Public health care more effecient than private health care…? · Categories: Economics, Politics, Social/Culture · Tags: ,

Incoming stat…

Paul Krugman reports…

Where is the money [spent on health care] going? A lot of it goes to overhead. A recent study found that private insurance companies spend 11.7 cents of every health care dollar on administrative costs, mainly advertising and underwriting, compared with 3.6 cents for Medicare and 1.3 cents for Canada’s government-run system. Also, our system is very generous to drug companies and other medical suppliers, because — unlike other countries’ systems — it doesn’t bargain for lower prices.

Krugman indicates he will talk more about alternatives for health care in future columns so keep an eye out…

Health of Nations