George W. Bush confidently told us that
we have “the best health care system in
Rudolph Giuliani echoed that moronic
statement by claiming we provide
the “best medical care in the world.”
Not even close.
In fact, the U.S. has the most expensive
health care system in the world; but the
health care outcomes-- which are the
statistical considerations of things like
infant mortality, life expectancy, length
of hospital stays and appropriateness
of medications-- demonstrate to the world
that the U.S. health care system ranks
below most other developed countries,
down by Czech Republic.
In a recent Bloomberg study of 48 countries
for Most Efficient Health Care, the United
States ranked 46th, right behind Iran,
Turkey and Dominican Republic.
When I point my finger here, I'm not
pointing it at the hospital system, or
insurance system, or some twisted
account of what the government should
provide; I'm pointing my finger as us,
the U.S. of A. And by "health care system,"
I am including the WAY WE LIVE.
Here's why our health system sucks:
Diet isn't what you avoid eating, it's
what you eat. Sugar correlates directly
with diabetes; greasy foods are now
said to contribute to Alzheimer's;
and both contribute to obesity. But
on the other side, people who try to
lose weight or stay thin end up in the
E.R. or the hospital because they don't
eat things like meat. Most of the vege-
heads and vegans I've known get sick
all the time. Alcohol is dietary; and
though we don't drink as much as
many places, our drunks are as
drunk as anywhere. Our diet sucks.
"Whaaat ?" you say, how can exercise
be part of the problem ? Check out
the injury rate of bicycling; it's worse
than football. It's been two years
since The New York Times expounded
on How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body.
Everyone knows that running causes
degeneration of the joints and puts
people in the hospital for knee and
hip surgeries. Tons of people tear
a muscle lifting weights. And the new
Cross-Fit fad is hurting people all
the time. Injuries from exercise
costs money, missed work and ends
up causing more and more problems
as life goes on. We're hurting us.
Apart from mere exercise, "Athlos"
or competition pushes people to do
all kinds of crazy. Kids get hurt
playing football, basketball and
soccer. Adults get hurt running
marathons, triathlons and "tough
mudder" competitions. Ballet and
gymnastics are likely to tweak your
body for life. But wait-- there's more !
Now we have "extreme sports," where
people go bigger and faster than
ever before; hell, they even make
stuff up to be extreme. Broken
bones and collapsed lungs have
nothing on the cost of traumatic
brain injuries and shattered spines.
Subtract that from your bottom
4. Lack of Self-Care
In China, people take care of
themselves. Here, we run to the
doctor just as soon as something
goes wrong. There's a tremendous
difference between the two. The
Chinese exercise for health and
longevity. We exercise to look
good and to get six-pack abs.
The Chinese carefully choose
each food for its medicinal
benefits. We eat whatever sounds
good or is lying around. Simply
put, we just don't take care of
ourselves. The Chinese must take
care of themselves because they
don't have the option to run to a
hospital. An ounce of Prevention
is worth seven pounds of Cure.
5. "Preventive Healthcare"
Alright, you understand the point
that we don't self-care--
but little do people realize that
our medical system has a function
it calls "prevention" that can make
things much worse. In essence,
these are the medical screenings
to indicate pre-cancer cells and
the like. The problem with these
screenings are the high percentage
of "false positives," meaning the
test will "indicate a problem" that
will likely never manifest as a
disease. For men, the Prostate-
Specific Antigen (PSA) test tells
the likelihood of prostate cancer.
One in 1000 men will be saved by
the test; but 4-5 will die from
cancer even though they've been
screened. Most men with elevated
PSA levels turn out to not have
cancer; and only about 25 percent
of men who get a prostate biopsy
(flesh removed and tested) due to
elevated PSA levels actually have
prostate cancer. But the elevated
PSA makes men very anxious, and
many times they demand the doc
perform surgery; this can lead to
all kinds of successive problems
like impotency and urinary issues.
That's the best word I could
come up with to describe the
U.S. phenomenon of people
shooting each other and
running into each other with
automobiles. Both of these two
situations are unique to the U.S.
They are cultural issues created
through our rich but short history.
No where in the world do so
many people get shot by firearms
or find themselves in car accidents.
We do inflict sexually-transmitted
diseases upon each other too.
7. M.D. Ego
The reason guys like Bush and
Guiliani proclaim our health care
system as the best is because of the
unparalleled egos of medical
doctors. They go to school for a long
time, have to endure rigorous job
training, and end up feeling god-like.
Mis-diagnosis is rife in the U.S., and
so is misappropriate choice of med's.
M.D.s refuse to have anyone looking
over their shoulders, check ing their
work. But 40 out of 100 medical
charts have glaring mistakes, and
98,000 people die every year from
mistakes doctors make. Doctors are
messed up ! As my Chinese doctor
says all the time,
"Western doctors kill people !"
8. Ignorance of Other Systems
To make matters even worse, there are
arrogant groups of assholes out there
who still demand that Science-based
medicine is the only way-- even
though our health system is as bad as
it is, and these assholes have no other
ideas on how to make things better. They
ignore the 5000-year old Chinese
system, even though it's fare more
cost effective and kills way fewer
Pharmaceuticals are killing people.
Have you heard the news about
statins ? Statins are the drugs to
help control cholesterol. Well,
they are killing people ! Hormone
therapy is killing people. Doctors
prescribe Prednisone for everything--
and it robs you of your immune
system. Listen to the commercials;
since drug companies have to list
the possible side-effects, you get to
hear all kinds of crazy things that
drugs can do-- but most important
is when they say "can sometimes
One hundred years ago, cocaine
was the hot pharmaceutical. Now
they say aspirin would never get
through FDA approval. What does
that tell you ?
Money, marriage, sex, love, cars,
kids, driving, sitting, family, health,
addiction; Lust, Gluttony, Greed,
Sloth, Wrath, Envy, Pride.
The American lifestyle is rife with
catalysts of stress; and it is well short
Alcohol is temporary.
Vacation is temporary.
Most of the common fixes are just
band-aids, and just about as temporary.