Friday, May 18, 2007

The State of American Healthcare

The State of American Healthcare...

The picture above is by Jon Griffon

In an associated press article dated May 16, 2007 Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel is quoted from the Journal of the American Medical Association. The article starts with the following paragraph:

“The U.S. heath care system is a ‘dysfunctional mess’ and politicians who insist otherwise look ignorant, according to a medical essay by a prominent ethicist at the National institute of Health.”

The prominent ethicist would be Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel from whom the article then offers up the following quote:

“If a politician declares that the United States has the best health care system in the world today, he or she looks clueless rather than patriotic or authoritative.” – Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel

In the article, Dr. Emanuel says that the U.S. spends $6,000 per person per year on health care, an amount that is more than 16 percent of the gross national product and more than any other country.

Six thousand dollars?

Oh would that it were. It would be a wonderful discount for us. We spend $16,200 per year for Mother Superior’s health care insurance alone. The American Health Care system is a shambles. Even if you are in perfect health, even if you have great health care insurance, you should care. Why?

Everyone gets old that’s why….

What happens when you get old? What happens if you ever reach the point where you cannot care for yourself? At our convent we take care of an elderly woman who is unable to care for herself. Consider this, however. We live in a country that is driven by greed – call it the wage/price spiral if you have taken macro economics and it happens to float your particular boat. I work in real estate as I have for years, and see an industry that not only is driven by greed, but thrives in it. We live in an economy where the it usually takes two incomes to support a family. And what happens if a relative of one of the wage earners can no longer take care of themselves? I am not talking about when someone simply needs to live with their children – I am talking about when they need around the clock care.

Years ago my parents went to a restaurant called “The oriental pearl”. When the owner of the restaurant found out what dad did for a living (he was a nursing home administrator at the time) he was shocked. “We are honored to have our old ones with us” he said. But he might not say that now. Not everyone is in a position to be able to quit there job to be able to take care of an older relative around the clock.

I hope you are not counting on the American healthcare system to take care of you under such circumstances. We have a healthcare system that is a REAL KILLER – literally.

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