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View Full Version : Inferior 'Socialist' British Health Care produces better results for half the $


banyon
05-03-2006, 03:25 PM
White, middle-aged Americans less healthy than English peers
By Carla K. Johnson and Mike Stobbe - Associated Press Writer

Wednesday, May 3, 2006


Chicago — The English are known by several stereotypes that suggest poor health, including pallid complexions, bad teeth, terrible food and an affinity for pubs.

Well, so much for stereotypes.

Startling new research shows that white, middle-aged Americans — even those who are rich — are far less healthy than their peers in England, a finding that flummoxed some experts.

Americans had higher rates of diabetes, heart disease, strokes, lung disease and cancer, findings that held true no matter what income or education level. And that’s despite the fact that U.S. health care spending is double what England spends on each of its citizens. “Everybody should be discussing it: Why isn’t the richest country in the world the healthiest country in the world?” asks study co-author Dr. Michael Marmot, an epidemiologist at University College London in England.

The study, based on government statistics in both countries, adds context to the already-known fact that the United States spends more on health care than any other industrialized nation, yet trails in rankings of life expectancy.

The United States spends about $5,200 a person on health care while England spends about half that in adjusted dollars.

Reasons are unclear

Even experts familiar with the weaknesses in the U.S. health system seemed stunned by the study’s conclusions.

“I knew we were less healthy, but I didn’t know the magnitude of the disparities,” said Gerard Anderson, an expert in chronic disease and international health at Johns Hopkins University who had no role in the research.

Just why the United States fared so miserably wasn’t clear. Answers ranging from too little exercise to too little money and too much stress were offered.

Even the U.S. obesity epidemic couldn’t solve the mystery. The researchers crunched numbers to create a hypothetical statistical world in which the English had American lifestyle risk factors, including being as fat as Americans. In that model, Americans were still sicker.

Smoking rates are about the same on both sides of the pond. The English have a higher rate of heavy drinking.

Only non-Hispanic whites were included in the study to eliminate the influence of racial disparities. The researchers looked only at people ages 55 through 64, and the average age of the samples was the same.

Higher disease rates

Americans reported twice the rate of diabetes compared to the English, 12.5 percent versus 6 percent. For high blood pressure, it was 42 percent for Americans versus 34 percent for the English; cancer showed up in 9.5 percent of Americans compared to 5.5 percent of the English.

The upper crust in both countries was healthier than middle-class and low-income people in the same country. But richer Americans’ health status resembled the health of the low-income English.

“It’s something of a mystery,” said Richard Suzman of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, which helped fund the study.

Health experts have known the U.S. population is less healthy than that of other industrialized nations, according to several important measurements, including life expectancy. The U.S. ranks behind about two dozen other countries, according to the World Health Organization.

Some have believed the United States has lagged because it is more ethnically diverse, said Suzman, who heads the National Institute on Aging’s Behavioral and Social Research Program. “Minority health in general is worse than white health,” he said.

But the new study showed that when minorities are removed from the equation, and adjustments are made to control for education and income, white people in England are still healthier than white people in the United States.

“As far as I know, this is the first study showing this,” said Suzman. The study, supported by grants from government agencies in both countries, was published in Wednesday’s Journal of the American Medical Association.

Other studies have measured the United States against other countries in terms of health care spending, use of medical care and availability of health care services. But this is the first to focus on prevalence of chronic conditions, said Anderson, the Johns Hopkins professor.

Exercise, financial insecurity

Differences in exercise might partly explain the gap, he suggested. One of the study’s authors, Jim Smith, said the English exercise somewhat more than Americans. But physical activity differences won’t fully explain the study’s results, he added.

Marmot offered a different explanation for the gap: Americans’ financial insecurity. Improvements in household income have eluded all but the top fifth of Americans since the mid-1970s. Meanwhile, the English saw their incomes improve, he said.

Robert Blendon, a professor of health policy at the Harvard School of Public Health who was not involved in the study, said the stress of striving for the American dream may account for Americans’ lousy health.

“The opportunity to go both up and down the socioeconomic scale in America may create stress,” Blendon said. Americans don’t have a reliable government safety net like the English enjoy, Blendon said.

However, England’s universal health-care system shouldn’t get credit for better health, Marmot and Blendon agreed.

Both said it might explain better health for low-income citizens, but can’t account for better health of England’s more affluent residents.

Marmot cautioned against looking for explanations in the two countries’ health-care systems.

“It’s not just how we treat people when they get ill, but why they get ill in the first place,” Marmot said.

HC_Chief
05-03-2006, 04:30 PM
Reasons are unclear.
:spock:
The reasons are VERY clear: obesity. There are A LOT of fat people in this country.

Socialized medicine has nothing to do with it.

Chief Henry
05-03-2006, 04:48 PM
Banyon,

Next time you or a family member needs a quadruple heart by pass surgery, I'll send you or your family member a card in England.

WilliamTheIrish
05-03-2006, 05:12 PM
I'm curious how you came to the conclusion you wrote in the thread header, after reading this article.

Do tell.

WoodDraw
05-03-2006, 05:48 PM
That's definetely interesting, although I'd stop well short of advocating the British health care system as a solution to our problems. It does should how woefully inept the US Gov has been at addressing the health care problem though. It's going to become one of the driving political issues on the fed and state level over the next few years.

'Hamas' Jenkins
05-03-2006, 07:23 PM
Socialized medicine works far better for the lower half of the socioeconomic sphere. It provides them with a level of care that is impossible for uninsured or underinsured people in this country. If people have great coverage or gobs of money, then the US system is beneficial, but for those who are not the benefactors of the capitalist system, socialized medicine is the far more effective and humane alternative.

Adept Havelock
05-03-2006, 07:32 PM
Socialized medicine works far better for the lower half of the socioeconomic sphere. It provides them with a level of care that is impossible for uninsured or underinsured people in this country. If people have great coverage or gobs of money, then the US system is beneficial, but for those who are not the benefactors of the capitalist system, socialized medicine is the far more effective and humane alternative.


Ummm..I think the word you are looking for is "beneficiaries". :hmmm:

ben·e·fi·ci·ar·y ( P ) Pronunciation Key (bn-fsh-r, -fsh-r)
n. pl. ben·e·fi·ci·ar·ies
One that receives a benefit: I am the beneficiary of your generosity.
The recipient of funds, property, or other benefits, as from an insurance policy or will.
Ecclesiastical. The holder of a benefice.

ben·e·fac·tor ( P ) Pronunciation Key (bn-fktr)
n.
One that gives aid, especially financial aid.

'Hamas' Jenkins
05-03-2006, 07:37 PM
Ummm..I think the word you are looking for is "beneficiaries". :hmmm:

ben·e·fi·ci·ar·y ( P ) Pronunciation Key (bn-fsh-r, -fsh-r)
n. pl. ben·e·fi·ci·ar·ies
One that receives a benefit: I am the beneficiary of your generosity.
The recipient of funds, property, or other benefits, as from an insurance policy or will.
Ecclesiastical. The holder of a benefice.

ben·e·fac·tor ( P ) Pronunciation Key (bn-fktr)
n.
One that gives aid, especially financial aid.

Sorry dude, I'm skullf*cked from finals right now. Thanks for the edit though :thumb:

BucEyedPea
05-03-2006, 09:27 PM
Startling new research shows that white, middle-aged Americans — even those who are rich — are far less healthy than their peers in England, a finding that flummoxed some experts.

No connection at all to socialized medicine if it's the rich too?

Where's the logic here? I'm not following.

Europeans are slimmer period. Ever been there? Hardly even a fat person.They do not eat half the processed, refined food we do...but their PORTIONS are also a lot smaller. I know American's who feel starved after a meal in Europe. I found it just right. In Italy they shop fresh daily for dinner. That's healthier than all the packaged food we have.

I bumped into Brit at Boston's Logan airport when I was headed to Greece. He had just spent several months touring the US. His one main comment was he was shocked at how many OBESE people we have here. He's right.

banyon
05-03-2006, 10:17 PM
I'm curious how you came to the conclusion you wrote in the thread header, after reading this article.

Do tell.

Americans had higher rates of diabetes, heart disease, strokes, lung disease and cancer, findings that held true no matter what income or education level. And that’s despite the fact that U.S. health care spending is double what England spends on each of its citizens. “Everybody should be discussing it: Why isn’t the richest country in the world the healthiest country in the world?” asks study co-author Dr. Michael Marmot, an epidemiologist at University College London in England...Americans reported twice the rate of diabetes compared to the English, 12.5 percent versus 6 percent. For high blood pressure, it was 42 percent for Americans versus 34 percent for the English; cancer showed up in 9.5 percent of Americans compared to 5.5 percent of the English.

i.e. not just obesity-linked issues, but they scored higher on every measure. It cannot be explained conveniently away by just obesity.

and even if you're rich, you still get sh***ier care. So that cuts against the
quality" argument that you hear alot.

jAZ
05-03-2006, 10:27 PM
http://www.tpmcafe.com/node/27644

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you France
By Kate Steadman | bio

A substantive debate has been circulating tpmcafe and other corners of the web among us health policy wonks and what we deem to be the Right Way to go about fixing our health system.

But there appears to be some discrepancy among the policy wonks when using the term “single payer”. Some mean pure single payer, or a Canadian or UK style way of delivering care, where there is no or a very small role for the private sector. Others are making “single payer” synonymous with “universal care”, which is a different issue indeed.

Although some have argued otherwise, I think the one thing nearly all (>95%) progressives agree on that we need to have universal health insurance. Not that all health insurance and health care services should be funneled through the government, but every single person in the United States should have health insurance, and if necessary the government should step in to fill in the gaps. That is the baseline of agreement.

From there, you get any number of ways to achieve it. Hence the quibbling among PPI and Kevin Drum about incrementalism. Then there's the question of whether or not we should adopt a true single-payer system. On that front, Leif Wellington Haase wrote an excellent meditation on why we should be cautious with single payer, and today Ezra Klein has a good look at why Canadian-style health care should not be our goal in the United States.

Instead, a better model for the U.S. would be a public-private hybrid that provides a floor of care and universal coverage for everyone, along with varying levels of benefit packages offered by the private sector.

But what would this kind of system look like, and does it work? France is one nation with quality results within a public-private framework, and a look at this system is a sound place to start.

Everyone in France has a basic level of publicly-funded insurance. This insurance covers everything and makes no demands on physician choice (or the number of tests or visits). These public funds cover 75% of health costs, with the rest of the cost split between out of pocket payments and private insurance. 85% of the population has a form of supplementary insurance to cover the rest. All doctors in France take either public or private insurance, so there’s no migration of doctors toward one avenue or the other.

There’s a few things about the French system that address single payer concerns Leif laid out:

• Because of the allowance for a private sector, the development and adoption of technology won’t be stifled

• Private insurers will stay around because they’ll still have “skin in the game”, thus avoiding a complete administrative disaster

Again, the most important goal is to cover everyone. Once a plan allows for that, we need to examine the ways it can hold down costs. In the case of France, that’s done in many different ways. Two of the main controls:

• Because the majority of health spending is directly financed by the government, it has great bargaining power to ensure lower prices (think the right way to do Medicare Part D)

• The state plans hospital locations, ensuring a uniformity of available care

And the French system was given the number one rating by the World Health Organization in 2000. Where did the United States stand? Number 37.

As Leif said, there are many ways to Rome. But France represents a well-traveled and smoothly paved avenue.

BucEyedPea
05-03-2006, 10:30 PM
i.e. not just obesity-linked issues, but they scored higher on every measure. It cannot be explained conveniently away by just obesity.

I can go with ya' on this one. Europe uses a lot more low tech care than Americans. Some of it, are things we'd poo-poo here, especially the monoploy machine the AMA has in this country keeping us a captive market. Anyhow, a lot of this lo-tech care is a fraction of the cost and some of it works extremely well. I use it myself...particularly homeopathics.

...and even if you're rich, you still get sh***ier care. So that cuts against the quality" argument that you hear alot.
Could you please back this up?
Just saying it's so doesn't make it so.

And actually, you wanna see medical prices plummet down...make all health insurance illegal...ban it. All 3rd party payments drive up costs. Make it a pay as you go. :)

You might even see doctors make housecalls again. ROFL

jAZ
05-03-2006, 10:51 PM
I can go with ya' on this one. Europe uses a lot more low tech care than Americans. Some of it, are things we'd poo-poo here, especially the monoploy machine the AMA has in this country keeping us a captive market. Anyhow, a lot of this lo-tech care is a fraction of the cost and some of it works extremely well. I use it myself...particularly homeopathics.


Could you please back this up?
Just saying it's so doesn't make it so.

And actually, you wanna see medical prices plummet down...make all health insurance illegal...ban it. All 3rd party payments drive up costs. Make it a pay as you go. :)

You might even see doctors make housecalls again. ROFL
The biggest thing that we can do to lower our healthcare costs is to increase buyer power. Right now, we buy healthcare thousands or millions of different times on a scale of 1-1000 people per.

That provides very limited or zero bargining power for the consumer. The suppliers have all of the power in this game. Using the leverage of 250,000,000 people (or even some fraction of that) to negotiate universal prices will massively lower drug and service costs.

'Hamas' Jenkins
05-03-2006, 10:54 PM
The biggest thing that we can do to lower our healthcare costs is to increase buyer power. Right now, we buy healthcare thousands or millions of different times on a scale of 1-1000 people per.

That provides very limited or zero bargining power for the consumer. The suppliers have all of the power in this game. Using the leverage of 250,000,000 people (or even some fraction of that) to negotiate universal prices will massively lower drug and service costs.

bbbbBut what about the nice drug companies? What will they do without those massive profits they got from all that extortion :deevee:

banyon
05-03-2006, 11:04 PM
I can go with ya' on this one. Europe uses a lot more low tech care than Americans. Some of it, are things we'd poo-poo here, especially the monoploy machine the AMA has in this country keeping us a captive market. Anyhow, a lot of this lo-tech care is a fraction of the cost and some of it works extremely well. I use it myself...particularly homeopathics.


Could you please back this up?
Just saying it's so doesn't make it so.

And actually, you wanna see medical prices plummet down...make all health insurance illegal...ban it. All 3rd party payments drive up costs. Make it a pay as you go. :)

You might even see doctors make housecalls again. ROFL

From the OP:

The upper crust in both countries was healthier than middle-class and low-income people in the same country. But richer Americans’ health status resembled the health of the low-income English.

BucEyedPea
05-04-2006, 08:47 AM
That's back-up?
My goodness...that tells me nothing.

banyon
05-04-2006, 09:17 AM
That's back-up?
My goodness...that tells me nothing.

I'm not sure what you're looking for.

Maybe I overstated it, but that's at least one conclusion that you could draw from the article.

I guess other factors might be at play in the relative unhealthiness of the American elites.

But it is such a disparity, I think it is worth investigating.

Radar Chief
05-04-2006, 09:17 AM
I bumped into Brit at Boston's Logan airport when I was headed to Greece. He had just spent several months touring the US. His one main comment was he was shocked at how many OBESE people we have here. He's right.

High fructose corn syrup. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_fructose_corn_syrup)

Mrs. Radar, an RN, tells me that a time line can be created directly linking the introduction of this stuff to the expanding, pardon the pun, obesity problem we now face. As a result, she’s on a crusade to eliminate it from our house, and diets.

NewChief
05-04-2006, 09:18 AM
I've been dealing with our health care system quite a bit lately because of some issues with my son. One real issue I have is that we pay a ton for insurance, yet somehow the insurance doesn't cover a lot of the testing that we need to have done.

The doctors have all assured me that if we were on low-income "insurance", all of the tests would be covered without any problem. Now, the doctors could just be pushing their own agenda, but I do know that the coverage provided under many insurance plans, for which we pay, is shoddy which is ridiculous when you're paying the amounts many of us pay.

banyon
05-04-2006, 09:25 AM
It's not mentioned in the article, but I think this :

http://www.theautochannel.com/media/photos/ford/1997/97_ford_explorer_xlt_sport-2.jpg

is a big reason Americans are Fatlock and the Brits arent.

Europeans walk everywhere. Of course their cities were designed with walking as the primary mode of transportation.

BucEyedPea
05-04-2006, 09:33 AM
High fructose corn syrup. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_fructose_corn_syrup)

Mrs. Radar, an RN, tells me that a time line can be created directly linking the introduction of this stuff to the expanding, pardon the pun, obesity problem we now face. As a result, she’s on a crusade to eliminate it from our house, and diets.
:hmmm: I'm really glad you posted this. I'm going to look further into it because of my daughter.

I've heard bad things about corn syrup...but not in this context.
However, it is a sugar. It's also in a lot of highly processed foods.
I knew some people were allergic to it.

It's even in Gatorade!!
Loaded with it.

My kid plays over another family's house...constantly, with constant sleepovers...and they drink that stuff all the time as well as a lot of soda.
It's due to the hot weather and play outside.

I told her not to accept it anymore..but she protests saying they tell her it's a healthy drink. However the kids are all badly overweight...but not the Dad and Mom.

Now my kid has chunked up over the past couple of years. Isn't a big eater and I wasn't sure if it was just before a growth spurt or what. Over the past three years she hasn't come out of it. I'm not fat, nor was my family and her dad was not fat....very tall and slim.

So I'm a gonna look into the corn syrup thing even more. Thanks.

Baby Lee
05-04-2006, 09:53 AM
High fructose corn syrup. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_fructose_corn_syrup)

Mrs. Radar, an RN, tells me that a time line can be created directly linking the introduction of this stuff to the expanding, pardon the pun, obesity problem we now face. As a result, she’s on a crusade to eliminate it from our house, and diets.
Avoiding that sh!t TAKES a crusade. I'm soooo f@cking sick of the endless perusal of juice aisles where the big letters say 100% natural, organic, homeopathic, superkalafragilistic, blah! blah! BLAH!!, and the small letters say, mostly apple juice from concentrate and H-effing-FCS.

WilliamTheIrish
05-04-2006, 10:24 AM
Banyon, you should have posted a picture of a Twinkie.

BucEyedPea
05-04-2006, 10:39 AM
The biggest thing that we can do to lower our healthcare costs is to increase buyer power. Right now, we buy healthcare thousands or millions of different times on a scale of 1-1000 people per.

That provides very limited or zero bargining power for the consumer. The suppliers have all of the power in this game. Using the leverage of 250,000,000 people (or even some fraction of that) to negotiate universal prices will massively lower drug and service costs.

I missed this earlier.

I happen to agree with you.

It's a gov't protected monopoly system which contributes mightily to it.
( Even patent law could use some reform on pharmaceuticals) Have you ever read the early history of allopathic medicine versus the homeopathic guys? Quite interesting, how the allopaths used legislation and law to give themselves a captive market that's holding us hostage.

I've had to go on and off my health insurance due to the premiums rising.
Being self-employed I usually carry a very high deductible even...like $6k or higher. I just try to not get wiped out.

But I've been able to get almost every bill knocked down by a third or more in some cases by offering to pay cash outta pocket. And I've found that when push comes to shove you can negotiate from a cash position. Heck! When I was ordered to a rush pre-planned C-section to have my daughter...I showed up at the hospital and charged her to my American Express card. I NEVER leave home without it.

banyon
05-04-2006, 10:42 AM
Banyon, you should have posted a picture of a Twinkie.

They have twinkies in Britain.

The Brits are actually notorious for their sweet tooth.

At least, according to the Simpsons,

their candies are much sweeter or something.

BucEyedPea
05-04-2006, 10:48 AM
The Brits are actually notorious for their sweet tooth.


Yes that's 100% correct.

Cochise
05-04-2006, 11:06 AM
I don't want to say anything, because I'm in a unique position with regards to this situation, but the thread title makes me do this --> ROFL

banyon
05-04-2006, 12:21 PM
I don't want to say anything, because I'm in a unique position with regards to this situation, but the thread title makes me do this --> ROFL

why? Please share your wisdom with the rest of us. :wayne:

WilliamTheIrish
05-04-2006, 03:26 PM
They have twinkies in Britain.

The Brits are actually notorious for their sweet tooth.

At least, according to the Simpsons,

their candies are much sweeter or something.

Hmm. I posted something in the reply. But it disappeared. Weird.

banyon
05-04-2006, 03:34 PM
Oh, I forgot that he's a limey.

Well, how is it Cochise?

Boozer
05-04-2006, 03:34 PM
why? Please share your wisdom with the rest of us. :wayne:

Well, the article's title ("White, middle-aged Americans less healthy than English peers") makes it look like they're comparing 35 year-old Americans with members of the House of Lords, but I don't think that's what he's laughing at.

Radar Chief
05-05-2006, 06:54 AM
Oh, I forgot that he's a limey.

Well, how is it Cochise?

Coshise? :spock: I believe your think’n of Donger. He’s a reformed limey. ;)

banyon
05-05-2006, 08:32 AM
Coshise? :spock: I believe your think’n of Donger. He’s a reformed limey. ;)

well guess that's a MEGA OOOOPS.