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Don’t blame U.S. healthcare system for nation’s poor health

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Timothy Norbeck, CEO of the Physicians Foundation, deconstructs the wide gap in health outcomes between the United States and other developed democracies. He argues that the U.S. healthcare system per se is not to blame. He writes:

“The Credit Suisse Research Institute and other studies have suggested that smaller, more homogeneous and less diverse countries tend to fare better in healthcare and other statistics than their larger counterparts.”

“One would expect better healthcare statistics and outcomes in much smaller and less diverse nations. {A} Commonwealth Fund Report calls attention to another study relevant to healthcare comparisons involving the U.S.  Bradley and Taylor’s 2013 study found that we spend less on social services such as disability benefits, food security, employment programs and supportive housing than do the 12 countries studied. This is a contributing factor to why we spend more on healthcare.”

“To recapitulate, the United States healthcare system is neither responsible for, nor is it the cause of, social disparities that have compromised the health and lives of so many people in our country, which unfortunately fall disproportionately on those who reside in our minority communities. Our healthcare system has not forced anyone to eat, drink, and smoke too much, or exercise too little.  It did not cause the highest death rates from motor vehicle crashes and violence, including homicides, nor did it contribute to our highest incidence of death related to alcohol and other drugs.”

To read Mr. Norbeck’s essay in Medical Economics, please hit this link

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