Monday, January 30, 2006

Fix Our Healthcare System!

The health care system in the United States is failing. Many of those on the conservative side of the fence claim that socialized health care systems are not the solution because they do not work. That is far from true. What are some reasonable ways to measure an effective health care system? I will pick two and compare our system with the systems of other countries around the world.

Infant Mortality Rates:
The United States has a higher infant mortality rate than Cuba. Yes, Cuba! We also fall behind most of Europe as well as Canada and Aruba according to the CIA fact book.

Life Expectancy:
The United States ranks 41st in the world in the area of life expectancy. Once again, we trail behind nearly every country in Europe, several Asian countries, and a few Middle Eastern countries including Jordan and Israel.

Just by analyzing the data provided by the two links above, you can easily see that our healthcare system is not adequate. The argument that socialized healthcare do not work, simply does not hold water. The main reason our healthcare system is in the condition it is currently in is because it is not designed to cure people, but designed to make money. I understand that we live in a capitalistic country, but caring for our citizens should be much more important than making money. Pharmaceutical companies are no longer seeking cures for diseases, but they are only developing medicine to make medical conditions tolerable.

1 comment:

BlackLabelAxe said...

BND, that is an extremely well-presented argument. In fact, something profound struck me while I was reading it:

I stand with you all the way in critisizm of drug companies who no longer care about curing diseases. Why would a drug dealer want to get his addicts off the needle? Why cure people when you can get them to take medicine they don't need for the rest of their lives?

At once I realized that the beauty and freedom that is capitalism can easily be ransomed for an unfair profit and ill motives when you combine impossible government control and a corporate monopoly.

Consider this: Who, besides a major drug company, has the resources to get a drug approved by the FDA? Basically, if you were an independant scientist, you couldn't actually cure a disease even if you hit the formula right on the dot! You'd be forced to sell you patent to Pfizer, Merck, or some other giant who would shelve it in favor of a lifetime treatment option. This is a case where the drug companies have such a monopoly that we can't make progress, and the FDA has killed the free market's checks and balances. The FDA requires a testing program that would bankrupt the biomedical pioneers that have cured humanity's worst plagues.

As you know, I hate the government more than almost anything, so to give up on capitalism I believe would be a mistake at this point. What we have here is drug companies that have fused an airtight monopoly on the business of healing people, and the FDA has become such a buerocracy that only the high-powered lawyers of the big drug companies can do business with them.

I say the government needs to be pruned back and allow for capitalism to do what it does. There is money to be made when people get healed of diseases. Maybe not Viagra-money, but enough money to make it worthwhile to do both science and humanity a great favor.

Equally important here is that the anti-trust laws we depend on to ensure honest competition get enforced, and level the playing field for biomedical researchers to make progress.

I'm not convinced that social medicine would promote vigorous competition and "race for the cure" that society needs to thrive. I agree with you that our current system is broken to hell, but I also know that we can do better. Americans are famous for innovation, and government control of anything leads to a nasty complacency that I fear would forever shackle us and make us be followers in the field of medical research.

In summary, we need to nuke the monopoly that strangles the medical field, and force our government to work with people with ideas, and not just money with the intent of making more money. You can't really blame capitalism for our health care system's failure, because the status quo isn't really capitalism.