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Scrutiny
  
Coughing it up
US healthcare worse than OECD
03/09/2009

Barring a few small European countries like Norway, Luxembourg, and Sweden, US spends more than any other country on earth in healthcare. Yet, the US healthcare is not without snags that need to be plugged in. The high cost of treatment and dependence on private sector insurance firms, whose cost break-up is not quite transparent, creates a situation where poor, old and children are left out of insurance cover. There are no less than 50 million Americans, who are without any insurance protection, a figure that is sure to bring ignominy to the richest country of the world.

Notwithstanding this, even the expensive healthcare system has failed to reap the desired results in healthcare performance charts, as the US stands below many countries in most of the parameters. Male mortality under the age of 5 in the US is 9 per 1000, and for females it is 7 per 1000. In Canada the figure stands at 6 per 1000, and 5 per 1000 respectively. UK is better-off with equivalent figure at 7 per 1000 and 6 per 1000 respectively. There are 3 acute care beds in the US per 1000, while for OECD it is 3.8 per 1000. In the US, on an average there are 2.8 physicians per 1000, whereas OECD’s figure is 3.1 – again better than the US. There are 1.4 specialists per 1000 in America vis-à-vis 1.6 in OECD. Therefore, paradoxically, the US spends more on healthcare and gets worse results in comparison to most OECD countries.

One way of bringing the 50 million citizens under insurance is to introduce public sector insurance firms. But it is unlikely Congress would ever approve it. Obama was supposed to be backing the proposal but unfortunately, due to the fact that providing subsidised insurance to the poor will cost the national exchequer in the range of $1.2-$1.6 trillion over the next ten years, Obama has stepped back. And this despite the fact Obama’s presidential campaign had healthcare as a key point. So where do the uninsured go from here? Experts say they go the GM way... File for bankruptcy first and medication later...

By:- Edit bureau
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