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Old 05-03-2006, 04:25 PM  
banyon banyon is offline
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Inferior 'Socialist' British Health Care produces better results for half the $

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.
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Old 05-03-2006, 05:30 PM   #2
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Quote:
Reasons are unclear.

The reasons are VERY clear: obesity. There are A LOT of fat people in this country.

Socialized medicine has nothing to do with it.
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Old 05-03-2006, 05:48 PM   #3
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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.
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Old 05-03-2006, 06:12 PM   #4
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I'm curious how you came to the conclusion you wrote in the thread header, after reading this article.

Do tell.
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Old 05-03-2006, 06:48 PM   #5
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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.
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Old 05-03-2006, 08:23 PM   #6
'Hamas' Jenkins 'Hamas' Jenkins is offline
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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.
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Old 05-03-2006, 08:32 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 'Hamas' Jenkins
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".

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.
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Old 05-03-2006, 08:37 PM   #8
'Hamas' Jenkins 'Hamas' Jenkins is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adept Havelock
Ummm..I think the word you are looking for is "beneficiaries".

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 skull****ed from finals right now. Thanks for the edit though
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Old 05-03-2006, 10:27 PM   #9
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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.
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Old 05-03-2006, 11:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WilliamTheIrish
I'm curious how you came to the conclusion you wrote in the thread header, after reading this article.

Do tell.
Quote:
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.
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Old 05-03-2006, 11:27 PM   #11
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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.
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Old 05-03-2006, 11:30 PM   #12
BucEyedPea BucEyedPea is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by banyon
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.

Quote:
...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.
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Old 05-03-2006, 11:51 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BucEyedPea
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.
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.
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Old 05-03-2006, 11:54 PM   #14
'Hamas' Jenkins 'Hamas' Jenkins is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jAZ
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
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Old 05-04-2006, 12:04 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BucEyedPea
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.
From the OP:

Quote:
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.
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