As we’ve been addressing the quality of health care in the United States as compared to other developed nations, particularly in Europe, the question that arises is whether or not the cost we pay for health care in our country is worth it. Solely looking at reports such as those released by The Commonwealth Fund and the World Health Organization make it appear that our health care system is not worth the high cost we pay for it.
However, as Dr. Scott W. Atlas, MD asserts, “Even before medical care quality is compared, one should understand that a population’s lifestyle, behavior, and heterogeneity impact health outcomes and life expectancies, even when medical treatment is sound.”
Interesting. In a country that many from around the world come to for excellent medical treatment, I would assert that our ratings as compared to other countries are low because we, as a nation, are actually hurting ourselves. It doesn’t matter if you have the best surgeon in the world if you keep living a self-destructive lifestyle.
In this next series, we will investigate lifestyles in the United States and the effect they have on our health care system’s efficiency with the dollars we put into it. For a brief glimpse into what we’ll be covering, cigarette smoking accounts for almost one fifth of US deaths and obesity in the United States is higher than in Western Europe, according to Dr. Atlas, and our lifestyles cause and contribute to morbidities such as high blood pressure, cancer, and heart problems. We will be investigating regional, ethnic, cultural, and economic factors that play into our health care rank. I believe this will be a revealing glimpse into our health care system’s interaction with our culture!
Public domain photograph from defenseimagery.mil.