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Medical Care PerspectivesExpensive Care
US and Canada
Illness as Chaos
A Body Divided
Genes and Medicine
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Reflections on Illness
No Health = Expensive Medical Care
While the term “healthcare” is popular, it misrepresents health in every possible way. Health is supposed to refer to being “healthy” – free of disease, physically fit, productive and happy. Healthy people do not need to spend money on doctor visits, drugs and surgery. The mislabeling continues into descriptions such as "Mental Health" services whose clients are anything but healthy. The word "health" has been kidnapped and abused by all the people in authority.
What is a more accurate term than healthcare?
Medical Care is the proper term. Medicalcare a heterogeneous collection of products and services provided by MDs, drug suppliers and hospitals that deal with people who are not healthy. Sometimes medical intervention is merciful, humane and lifesaving. Sometimes, medical care is wasteful, inefficient and dangerous.
Medical care is required by people who move from health to illness, often slowly over many years, Life is a one way street and disease progression will remove opportunities for prevention or early intervention. Hospitals collect people who have advanced disease and require the most expensive medical care.
While people live longer in North America, there is growing evidence that the wellness quotient of the average citizen deteriorates and the prospect of chronic degenerative disease haunts the aging population. It is easy to point to persisting, increasing, debilitating health problems such as depression, family violence, suicide, obesity, diabetes, disability from degenerative diseases, dementias, cancer and an increasing incidence of ill-defined illnesses. Close to 50% of the adult population in the US and Canada report chronic symptoms such as headache, fatigue and joint or muscle pain. Aging citizens are vulnerable to a variety of debilitating if not tragic illnesses. The rising incidence of two disabling and chronic illnesses Diabetes and Alzheimer's dementia is a major concern especially as 70 million people in North America are approaching the age of peak incidence during the next 30 years.
Healthy people do not seek medical care.
Lundberg, Editor of MedGenMed stated that: “The US medicalcare "system is immensely complicated, almost inexplicable, costly beyond belief, seriously discriminatory, and often unsafe. The money expended from all sources in American medicalcare is extraordinarily large, some $1.7 trillion in 2004, one seventh of the total US economy, and larger than the total economies of most countries of the world.” Lundberg suggests that the marketplace" determines how much money is spent on what and how many people of what types work in medicalcare but it is not a free market.
People in the US and Canada are often less than healthy because they eat too much of the wrong food and exercise too little. The mechanisms of bad-food diseases are numerous and complex. Profit can be made by attempting to manage the consequences of eating too much and exercising too little. Marketing chemicals to reduce the negative effects of eating too much of the wrong food is profitable, even though few of the drugs would be required if early interventions removed the cause of disease.
Canada is the third-highest-per-capita spender on drugs among industrial countries after the United States and France. Canada spent $3,003 US per person in 2003 lower than the U.S. at $5,635. Norway and Switzerland were next in line at $3,800 per capita. All affluent countries are spending more on drugs, increasing 32 per cent 1998 and 2003 to more than $450 billion in 2003. Growth in spending on pharmaceuticals outpaced the rise in total medicalcare expenditures between 1998 and 2003 in most countries, including Canada. In the U.S. and Australia, spending on drugs grew more than twice as fast as total medical expenditures.
In Canada, Government control prevails over the cost of medicalcare. An editorial in the National Post (June, 2005) stated that Canada is the only free country in the world that forbids citizens from paying for essential medical services with private insurance and the only nation that has defined a particular mode of medicalcare delivery as a core element of national identity. Rationing services is one method of controlling escalating costs.
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