Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Health in America

Liberals love to point out the shortcomings of America’s health care system. They point out that it is much too expensive, which is true, and claim that countless Americans don’t get adequate care, which is not. They call attention to the fact that that there are almost 47 million uninsured Americans (sometimes it’s nearly 50 million, depending on which liberal is quoting the stat), and suggest that those Americans face a horrible fate if they happen to become ill.

Wrong. America’s health insurance system may be broken, but its health care system is working quite well. In fact, American health care is possibly the very best in the world. The U.S. ranks 47th in life expectancy. The European Union as a whole ranks 42nd in life expectancy. There is less than five months difference between the two entities.

This is astonishing considering the incredibly poor way Americans care for their health.. America is the world’s top drug consumer—over 16 percent of Americans have tried cocaine at least once (thanks for pushing that percentage up, Barack). The next highest percentage is New Zealand (does New Zealand have a drug problem?), with a total of four percent of the country’s population having experimented with cocaine. Not every cocaine-trying American will experience drug-related health problems—but some certainly will.

In addition to being the world’s leading cocaine consumers, the United States also has the embarrassing distinction of being the world fattest country. Over 30 percent of the nation is obese (not merely overweight, but obese). Obesity is a major health risk—it can cause back and joint problems, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases, among others.

In fairness, I should point out the United States has a relatively low smoking rate when compared to Europe, though at over 15 percent, it is still far too high.

Given the awful health habits displayed by Americans, the U.S. health care system holds up remarkably well. It does not only have to deal with diseases, but also with the consequences of medical conditions people inflict upon themselves. Our health care system is not perfect, but overall, its performance is truly remarkable. It provides most Americans, regardless of health habits, with long and comfortable lives and deserves credit.


At July 2, 2008 at 2:26 PM , Blogger Beth said...

It's because Americans lead unhealthy lifestyles that makes me not like socialized medicine in any way, shape or form. Afterall, why should I pay for others unhealthy habits? Or, what would be my incentive to not live my life in a healthy manner?

It's because insurance companies affect how we manage our health care that makes it broken, if we had a totally free market medical system, people could comparison shop, market forces would set prices, competition would bring quality and fair prices.

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