Health Care Spending = A Sick Country

January 9th, 2004

To the Editor,

Health care statistics cannot be evaluated utilizing the same methods applied to other market sectors. Health care spending must be inversely related to the GNP, representing reduced worker productivity, diminishing labor pools and a drain on tax revenues from disability and welfare outlays for those who cannot work.

The census informed us that twenty percent of the population, 16-64, have a disability/chronic illness. The SSA expects three out of every ten new workers to become disabled prior to retirement age. Add to that enormous numbers of disabled persons not accounted for in those figures: handicapped children, disabled military personnel, adults in institutions and senior citizens with health problems. We see a nation where the healthy are soon to be outnumbered by the sick.

The “quality” of medical services contributes to this problem. A UK executive with the pharmaceutical house, GlaxoSmithKlein, has publicly stated that efficacy for drugs is around 50% due to genetic factors alone (never mentioned in drug product inserts/labels). Ernst and Grizzle (J Am Pharm Assoc, 41 (2), 2001), reported that, “Overall, the cost of drug related morbidity and mortality exceeded $177.4 billion in 2000.”. Not terribly surprising when the FDA only sees those favorable studies released by manufacturers as science today is considered ‘proprietary’.

Consider the ailments which are difficult to diagnose/treat since doctors are not educated to identify pollution related problems. Our failure to contain pollution since it hinders pursuit of corporate profits, has laid the costs of its victims upon the doorsteps of taxpayers.

Let’s face the real disasters behind the statistics about the health care industry. Only then can we reduce all this human misery and economic decay.

Barbara Rubin

Categories: NY Times

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