By Amanda Vender
The United States spends double the amount of money per person on healthcare that other developed countries spend. So we should be pretty healthy, right? Nope. A new study published in the May 3 Journal of the American Medical Association shows that overall, older people in the U.S. are sicker than older people in England, and we’re more likely to develop diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, cancer and high blood pressure.
The current U.S. healthcare system is complicated and requires that people, or their employer, buy health insurance from a company that then pays a portion of a patient’s medical bills. Within this for-profit system, health insurance companies and drug makers make large amounts of money. But roughly 16 percent of the population and 11 percent of kids have no health insurance.
To be uninsured is a risk. People without insurance are less likely to go to the doctor because they don’t want a big medical bill they cannot afford. One way to provide healthcare for all people is through a government-funded not-for-profit healthcare system. This system would save money by reducing wasteful management and advertising costs, and instead focus on helping people stay healthy. There have been some attempts to pass a law forming a national health care system, but so far they have failed.
By the Numbers
10.6 million: Children younger than 5 who die each year from preventable causes
99%: Deaths of mothers and young kids that occur in developing countries
70%: Child deaths caused by these preventable conditions: problems with childbirth, pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria, measles and HIV/AIDS
46 million: Number of Americans without health insurance
18,000: Unnecessary deaths every year in the U.S. due to lack of health insurance
Sources: World Health Organization, National Coalition on Health Care