During the health care debate there was a lot of information brought to the attention of the American public that was shocking. Most did not realize that we spend more on health care than any other nation on earth (almost 17% of GDP) but with poor results. Americans assumed that we had the best health care in the world so it came as a shock to learn that we rank so far below other industrialized countries.
A new study published recently sheds light on the situation. It turns out that our health care system is the problem, not our smoking, obesity, homicide rate or other excuse. Our current fee-for-service system combined with a focus on specialty health care has produced an upside-down system that while highly profitable for some, is not effective for patients.
Examining health records from 1975 - 2005 the study by researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health found that even though there were improvements in our lifestyles relative to other countries, our health declined. This despite the fact that America spends up to twice as much on health care as other industrialized countries. For example, 15-year survival rates for men and women ages 45 and 65 has fallen to the bottom of the list compared to 12 other industrialized countries in the study.
As the cost of our health care system continues to rise in both financial and human terms it's time for change.