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Life Expectancy and Health Care Spending

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  • #16
    Originally posted by ian View Post
    Universal health care systems dont have unlimited resources so medical professionals are faced constantly with the decisions of where and who to allocate the resources they do have, this is the bitter truth about socialised health.
    I do understand that, thank you Ian.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by chick View Post
      The difference in years may be only 1-3 in most cases, which may seem insignificant, but when the difference is TWICE the money spent, then it does become significant.

      For example, while the UK spends under 3000 per L.E. of <79 and the U.S. spends more than 7000 per L.E. of >78, the difference in Life Expectancy is less than 1 year, but the U.S. spends MORE than double in Healthcare than the U.K.. Spending more than twice the monies for such insignificant gain, is very significant.
      Well, one could get into the philosophical argument of what is a few years of life worth to you I suppose. My friend's little girl died of cancer - I'm sure a zillion dollars was spent, and she did die in the end. But I'm sure her parents would have found the money very well spent.

      Having said that, yes, the amount of money spent does matter.

      But we're paying not just for longevity - we're often paying for comfort. People do seem to appreciate the difference. If you think they shouldn't (we should have wards, not private rooms - we shouldn't have TVs in the hospital rooms, etc. etc.) that's fair enough - but some people do want these things.

      And again, I think it's too simple to say x amount of money spent for x years. Are some problems addrssed faster than in some socialized systems - I think yes. And does our lifestyle have a huge impact - there, I think yes also.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by ian View Post
        Universal health care systems dont have unlimited resources so medical professionals are faced constantly with the decisions of where and who to allocate the resources they do have, this is the bitter truth about socialised health.
        Correct on the first part as such, but not necessarily on the second part, -the standard over here is that health care directors each fiscal year pulverizes the governments original budgets.

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        • #19
          lol Foolish Old, I saved the best for last. But drat, the way you did it the quote won't work.

          I give you a for the humor on the evidenced based conclusion stuff.

          But there is all sorts of evidence rattling around - evidence on obesity. Evidence in the increase of diabetes. Evidence that the smokers are now getting older. Evidence of the sedentary lifestyle. There are many many factors that influence longevity, not just a healthcare system.

          The thing is - America does deliver the highest quality of care, pretty much. A World Health Organization study rated the US #1 for quality of care. A pretty credible evidence-based organization, wouldn't you agree?

          They also rated it much lower for access to care. Fair enough, hopefully we will be improving that.

          As far as quality of living due to slow/lack of medical care - sure there are some in the US. Generally not the ones with good insurance. Again, hopefully we are addressing that.

          Yes - other countries provide care to all citizens. Not necessarily the same quality care as the US. But regardless, of course that is a worthwhile goal for the US to achieve - without sacrificing quality.

          Cost - I honestly don't know just how to reduce the cost, while improving acceses and keeping up quality. I wish I did.

          btw - I am not "bashing" any other country, nor saying they have lousy care or anything. But in the only study I've seen directly comparing quality - the US was said to be #1. Overall, the US ranked much lower, due to the lack of access to care.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by TAM63 View Post
            I think that with the US only 4 years from the top, considering the diet and sedentary lifestyle here, this chart probably shows that the US medical care is pretty good.
            Diet and exercise are definitely factors, but they are not likely to account for the great difference between the U.S. and Japan.

            Japan spends less than 2500 in HC for a LE of ~83 yrs. whereas the U.S. spends more than 7000 in HC for a LE of ~78 yrs. Thus, the U.S. spends almost 3 times MORE in Healthcare for 4-5 LESS life expectancy years than Japan.

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            • #21
              I am guessing, but there are several factors that could account for a difference between Japan and the US. Correct me if I am wrong, but don't the Japanese eat a diet high in vegetables and fish? Much better than the US diet? I'd think that could have a huge impact on longevity.

              Also, genetics could have a part - might Asians (am I using the right term here?) have a genetic advantage?

              If one is asking, simply do we get less days of life for our dollar, of course we do - I would never argue that.

              If the question is - are we more comfortable? Is it worth it? I don't know.

              Obviously, we have to rein in costs some, somehow, somewhere.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by TAM63 View Post
                lol Foolish Old, I saved the best for last. But drat, the way you did it the quote won't work.

                I give you a for the humor on the evidenced based conclusion stuff.

                But there is all sorts of evidence rattling around - evidence on obesity. Evidence in the increase of diabetes. Evidence that the smokers are now getting older. Evidence of the sedentary lifestyle. There are many many factors that influence longevity, not just a healthcare system.

                The thing is - America does deliver the highest quality of care, pretty much. A World Health Organization study rated the US #1 for quality of care. A pretty credible evidence-based organization, wouldn't you agree?

                They also rated it much lower for access to care. Fair enough, hopefully we will be improving that.

                As far as quality of living due to slow/lack of medical care - sure there are some in the US. Generally not the ones with good insurance. Again, hopefully we are addressing that.

                Yes - other countries provide care to all citizens. Not necessarily the same quality care as the US. But regardless, of course that is a worthwhile goal for the US to achieve - without sacrificing quality.

                Cost - I honestly don't know just how to reduce the cost, while improving acceses and keeping up quality. I wish I did.

                btw - I am not "bashing" any other country, nor saying they have lousy care or anything. But in the only study I've seen directly comparing quality - the US was said to be #1. Overall, the US ranked much lower, due to the lack of access to care.
                http://www.photius.com/rankings/healthranks.html

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                • #23
                  Thanks Leif, that's the one I was thinking of I believe.

                  It takes some digging through it - but it is interesting, because they rate a lot of factors equally - I can't remember just now, but of course some are quality of care, access to care, and I believe cost as well.

                  I'll have to get back to this later though - off to see if I can operate a plumbers snake. Not having a good morning grr.

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                  • #24
                    It's important to keep in mind, that "Access", Quality", and "Availability" are all related to COST.

                    Personal (or human) choices, on an individual AND group and systemic level, are all attributable to rising costs. The thing is, they are tightly intertwined. And, choices are often dependent upon access and availability, which can determine quality.

                    As this relates to SMT, rising costs are also attributed to Diagnostic equipment and testing, specialists, over/unnecessary utilization, and insurance driving all of the above, plus more.

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                    • #25
                      Excellent Chick.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by TAM63 View Post
                        [...]
                        Cost - I honestly don't know just how to reduce the cost, while improving acceses and keeping up quality. I wish I did.
                        [...]
                        Oh! Oh! I have an idea! Let's all go to the doctor half as often as we normally would. Every other time you want to go to see a doc, just don't. See what happens. I'm betting we'll live longer and have lower health care costs!
                        "I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it." - Edgar Allen Poe

                        "If you only know your side of an issue, you know nothing." -John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

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                        • #27
                          I would like to see a cost comparison of drugs, services, and supplies in the USA compared to other countries. How much do hospitals charge for surgical tubing and syringes in Japan?

                          Also, how much do other countries invest in medical equipment R&D? Do hospitals in the USA purchase more high-end equipment than other countries (not to say that the equipment is worth a damn but it is an added expense.) Do American doctors order more intensive testing and treatments (many or some of which are not needed) for fear of medical malpractice lawsuits? What is the cost of malpractice insurance in the USA compared to other countries?

                          Many things factor into the expense...



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                          • #28
                            I think we do a lot of R&D. Probably more than some countries (not saying there's none elsewhere of course).

                            Unnecessary tests? You know, there must be all these unnecessary tests out there somewhere. But between my old lady friend and my husband, I think we've seen - oh - about a zillion doctors. I can't think of any tests anyone ordered as CYA. True, they didn't think about cost - if they thought it might show something, they ran it. But I can't think of which ones they should have eliminated.

                            Malpractice lawsuits and expense - I'm sure that's a fair part of it. But what's the alternative - in the US, if someone harms you, you can try to sue them. Make doctors exempt? Well, those who are disabled by a doctor's mistake sure wouldn't like that, nor would it seem fair.

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