Click here for the latest review of America’s health: http://www.healthcarefinancenews.com/infographic/infographic-why-america-must-address-rising-costs-healthcare
Sometimes medical “pundits” miss the point. Healthcare is about choices. Many Americans are not making healthy choices, our sodas are getting larger, our lines in drive thru’s are getting longer (we don’t even get out of the car anymore) and there is a fast food place on every corner of every city. Our schools are cutting Physical Education to save money and our obesity rates (children as well as adults) are exploding in this country. If you did not know, click on this link (http://bunow.com/17082-american-obesity-rates-soar). Scroll to the bottom and take a look at the map of the United States. In short, in many states, 1 out of 5 people have a body mass index (BMI) of greater than 30! If you do not know what a BMI of 30 is, that is a CLINICAL DEFINITION of obese– which is two scales above “acceptable” (http://www-users.med.cornell.edu/~spon/picu/calc/bmicalc.htm).
Everybody should know that obesity dramatically raises your risk of diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, heart conditions, strokes, back and joint ailments and certain forms of cancer are all elevated exponentially. People also should know all of those conditions cost “the system” A LOT of money in terms of medications, doctor office visits and complications (for those that get real out of control). Studies show more than $1,152 PER PERSON (http://www.forbes.com/sites/rickungar/2012/04/30/obesity-now-costs-americans-more-in-healthcare-costs-than-smoking/), not to mention it shaves years off your life expectancy.
I always find it intriguing that the “pundits” sit down and bash our healthcare cost, quality and life expectancy with studies like this when they solely look at health utilzation/costs/life expectancy without taking into consideration the “beginning state” (or starting point) of the patient’s health status that our doctors are forced to treat. I would argue this entire exercise is a worthless, misleading endeavor. I sincerely hope our policy makers do not focus on “out of context graphs” like these to make the determinations as in reality we have a long way to go in this country as citizens, those personally accountable for our own health fate, before we start making Draconian cuts (or sweeping policy changes) to a system because our “results” do not match those of the other countries. I would love to see an average body index (just for starters) of the competing countries next to a study like this to see where these other countries match up against ours. I suspect the other countries listed have nowhere near 1 in 5 people and in a substantial portion of their country 1 in 4 people rated as clinically obese. I suspect none of them are having the issues which appear to be unique to the “super sizing of America”.
The most brilliant, gifted, efficient MD in the world cannot counteract the effects of a patient who does not accept accountability nor participate in the process of their care. For example, the smoker that has emphysema and refuses to quit (or at this point ANY smoker based on the wealth of information of the related smoking complications) or the diabetic that refuses to check their blood levels, start an exercise routine, or attempt to attain “clinically sound” body weights.
It is not the healthcare delivery system that is the entire problem–it is not the doctors’ faults–in many cases, it is our lifestyle! Until the “pundits” and the American people recognize their responsibility in the healthcare delivery system and, more importantly, do something about it to reverse this tragic trend, we can only look forward to higher premiums, higher admission/readmission rates and increasingly lower life expectancies.