The high wire of health: Where we are in the world

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Much concern over the US health care system has been with its policies and patchwork of systems, coverage and high costs. Comparisons have been made with other countries as well as within this one and some conclusion have been made. Many prominent scholars and administrators have documented some of these statistics as well as offered some contemporary solutions to those in policy positions and those entering the health care systems field. Unlike many other market-based functions, our health care system has seen change that has been so rapid in the past 50 years that many of the ramifications have yet to be realized. Much of the what we have seen though in the last five to ten years has been bad for our middle class families that is for sure.

 

National mortality rates

National mortality rates

Great ambitious, outright global attempts have been undertaken to analyze many countries’ health care systems, to document what has facilitated positive change and well, what has not-what works and what does not work. One such an attempt was the World Health Report of 2000 which used weights to create an index of quality care. Using that composite, of the twelve nations survive Greece ranks 14 with universal access and national health care services, the United States ranks 37 with variable access and supplemental insurance and Brazil ranks 125th with universal rights but contracted and national services. The US has a rank of 7th out of 12 that encompass a national system of health care, but those of higher ranking invariably provide universal health care while the US does not. Whats going on here?

Statistical infant mortalities have been used as a measure of health care effectiveness in a country as well. Infant moralities in studies have been measured comparatively, while in other studies within countries. In Australia, it was found that the lowest two classes set above the bottom class had 23% of the total infant deaths. These were the semi-skilled and skilled working class, and not the poorest unskilled. This has deep implications for the US because these classes of people, who are also within the United States, are unlikely to be poor enough for US social insurance policies such as Medicaid or Medicare, but not rich enough to afford health care. Unfortunately the US links together voluntary insurance with private employer insurance and social insurance to provide health care coverage with the largest social insurance coverage administered through Medicare and Medicaid for a total of 17.3% of the US health care expenditures in 2000. Translation, we lose because the safety net holes are too wide and when we fall from the high wire of life we fall through and hit the ground hard.

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