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The Chart That Explains Everything That Is Wrong With The US Healthcare System

Tyler Durden's picture


We previously presented the following chart from Citi in our report on America's brief flirt with income statement austerity, although we feel we may not have emphasized it enough. So, in an attempt to remedy that situation, here is the chart that casually explains most if not everything that is wrong with the US healthcare system, currently the cause of so much political bickering and consternation... not to mention future spending.

PS. And if the chart above is not enough, here is a comparison of healthcare outlays both past and present and revenue streams, which, in the words of Citi "will unravel most any other
structural changes in the budget given enough time."

We bring up these charts again as today we are precisely 5 days away from the dead ceiling legislative (not financial) deadline, and DC is likely to come up with a straw man compromise that merely kicks the can down the road yet does nothing to resolve the main issue: America's doomed "welfare state" going concern as indicated by the above charts. It also confirms another observation: responsibility for America's untenable spending picture lies not only with D.C. - it really begins and ends with each of us.


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Sun, 07/17/2011 - 11:12 | 1463509 thatthingcanfly
thatthingcanfly's picture

I am stunned by the revelation that our life expectancy is so low when compared to other Westernized nations. I notice casually that the socialized medicine experiment that libertarians love to complain about in the UK seems to be doing better than I'd like to admit.

Andrei Navrozov had a sobering article in Chronicles last fall about his trip to London from Palermo to seek treatment for a life threatening illness. His conclusion: "I am alive becaused of socialized medicine." Not what one expects to read in that mag.

There are an awful lot of variables to isolate here.


Sun, 07/17/2011 - 11:26 | 1463533 redpill
redpill's picture

This is what happens when you combine a situation wherein:

1) US Drug Companies lead the world in new pharmeceutical discoveries that they fund through (over)charging substantial amounts domestically even though the formula will be copied and distributed inexpensively abroad.

2) We have an utterly absurd health insurance regulatory regime that destroys the benefits of economies of scale by preventing practice across state lines, destroys the cost benefits of competition by being tied to employment, and destroys any ability for risk management by a lack of tort reform and giveaways to the trial lawyer lobby.

3) The true costs of a massive Medicare social safety net are cryptically passed through to regular consumers because of myopic government price fixing, which adds yet more additional cost to the entire process.

4) Generations of Americans growing up under the diabetes-inducing food pyramid that tells parents to cram two servings of relatively nutritionally vacuous but carb-heavy bread and grain down their children's throat every single meal.  Combined with a fast-food culture that results in painfully unhealthful eating habits, and it's a wonder Americans live as long as they do.


Sun, 07/17/2011 - 11:51 | 1463620 hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture

The low life expectancy at birth in 2009 is almost entirely due to obesity rates in the US versus the world.

BMI tests for SNAP, please.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 13:15 | 1463878 Missiondweller
Missiondweller's picture

My thoughts exactly. Obesity increases risk for all types of disease from cancer to diabetes. I'm sure both of these graphs would be "normalized" if we had similar obesity rates. Costs would be down and results would be better.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 14:06 | 1464026 chunkylover42
chunkylover42's picture

It's not just obesity, it's lifestyle choices in general like drug use and sedentary lifestyle.  Plus we have a higher murder rate than other countries such that inner city youths are constantly killing each other.  This skews the life expectancy numbers downward.

As for the average spending figures, other countries with government-run health programs can put limits on spending, particularly as it pertains to pharmaceuticals.  Typically those countries look only at the marginal cost of the next pill/injection and ignore the development costs, so they tell Pfizer et al that we'll only pay you $x per pill even though te cost to develop was $3x.  The result is that the drug cos make up the difference by charging US costumers a premium to recoup costs.  We are subsidizing the world in terms of drug development.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 14:26 | 1464072 Rusty_Shackleford
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Sun, 07/17/2011 - 16:39 | 1464452 dolly madison
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I think it is the MSG (also known by other names to achieve a "clean label") in the food that is causing the obesity.  Studies show it increases BMI, increases amount eaten and increases speed of eating.  A recent study showed that children who ate candy regularly, were 25% less likely to be obese, so sugar probably isn't the culprit.  Fat probably isn't either as obesity only increased during the period when low fat diets were pushed so aggressively.  I personally find that having enough fat in my diet keeps me satiated, so I eat less. 

Here is a list of body functions that MSG may affect:

Additionally, many cancers have glutamate receptors, so MSG is miracle grow for tumors, and because MSG can cause a Taurine deficiency, it can lead to heart disease through increasing levels of homocysteine.

Actually many of the problems MSG causes can be counteracted by taking a Taurine supplement, so if you do want to stay on the corporate chow diet, best to take some Taurine.

European countries limit the amount of additives in the food.  The US doesn't.  If it's on the GRAS list, the food manufacturers can put as much in as they'd like.  If you look up the "hidden sources of MSG" and then read the food labels, you will be shocked to see how hard it is to avoid added MSG.

Some will say it can't be the cause of the obesity epidemic because Asian countries tend to add MSG to food and tend to be thin.  First, they probably don't add it to almost every single meal and snack like is the case in US corporate chow.  Also, their staple is rice instead of wheat, and rice just happens to be naturally much lower in glutamate than wheat, so still their levels of ingested glutamate is probably much lower than the typical US diet.

I personally lost 18 pounds in the year that I cooked all our foods from scratch.  I ate plenty of foods that would be thought of as fattening in that time.  The difference was I cooked them at home to avoid my daughters allergens, but that also helped me avoid added glutamate.

I think that many other non-foods like preservatives, artificial flavors and food colorings are probably bad for our health too, and again the amount allowed to be put in foods is not limited here.  However, if you avoid MSG, you will end up avoiding the other bad things too.

A sedentary lifestyle is shown to contribute to health problems as well.  I've long been irritated by how our country has zoned most residences to be far from work, so we are all forced to drive all the time.

So, to get our numbers better on that chart, we need to copy the countries with the better numbers.  We need to limit the additives and change our zoning, and single payer healthcare sounds like a great idea too.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 17:05 | 1464526 samslaught
samslaught's picture

I would have titled this article "chart that explains almost nothing."  I would say outside factors (like our countries diet) not only have an impact on the results of this chart, but actually completely explain away the foolish conclusions drawn by the writer of this article.


Sun, 07/17/2011 - 20:16 | 1464997 AchtungAffen
AchtungAffen's picture

Yeah! It's not that the US has a healthcare system designed not to cover people's health but to give a profit for someone from the managerial caste; it's that the US people are FAWT. That's why they live less and have more costs... And now for a message from the merchant caste:

"Buy Glox Healthcare stocks! We put market capitalization over health any day!"

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 21:20 | 1465124 chunkylover42
chunkylover42's picture

If you don't think somebody's choice to have McDonald's and KFC 5 times a week and watch American Idol instead of going for a bike ride (and doing this for 30 years) has no impact on health care costs over their lifetime, you are kidding yourself.

Also, care to guess what the typical net profit margin is for a health insurer?  It's about 5%.  The operating margin is typically around 10%.  Wildly profitable?  Hardly.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 17:06 | 1464531 samslaught
samslaught's picture

I would have titled this article "chart that explains almost nothing."  I would say outside factors (like our countries diet) not only have an impact on the results of this chart, but actually completely explain away the foolish conclusions drawn by the writer of this article.


Sun, 07/17/2011 - 17:14 | 1464555 chunkylover42
chunkylover42's picture

good info, thanks

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 18:49 | 1464820 GoinFawr
GoinFawr's picture

"It's not just obesity, it's lifestyle choices in general...We are subsidizing the world in terms of drug development."

If you want a priapism mb.

Good thing your fat asses don't have to 'patent prices' for insulin, hey? Now who came up with that again?

Also, when US citizens get their prescriptions filled in Canada Canuckians are the ones subsidizing them. Because Canadians actually pay big pharma full over price for brand name drugs, but the diff is made up by their gov't. Which also means that Canucks, plus a lot of other nations with UHC, are actually subsidizing US drug companies who are supported by outdated patent law.

In other words: the exact opposite of your erroneous claim.


Mon, 07/18/2011 - 09:19 | 1465963 chunkylover42
chunkylover42's picture

If you input "Canadian drug price controls" into Google you will find a wealth of information that completely refutes your erroneous claim that the CD government pays "full price" for brand name drugs.  They do not, and the cost is shifted to U.S. consumers.



Mon, 07/18/2011 - 12:51 | 1466826 GoinFawr
GoinFawr's picture

According to the Fraser institute Canuckistanians are paying almost twice as much for generic prescription drugs.

You didn't answer my question.


Sun, 07/17/2011 - 14:03 | 1464015 LowProfile
LowProfile's picture


What he said.

ThatThingCanFly is a f'tard.

Mon, 07/18/2011 - 01:28 | 1465515 Fox Moulder
Fox Moulder's picture

Aren't Brits and Germans (and possibly other European countries) as obese as Americans?

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 13:02 | 1463842 long-shorty
long-shorty's picture

Great post. Whoever junked this is suffering from terminal stupidity.

(from a former M.D.)

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 13:16 | 1463882 Mike2756
Mike2756's picture

agreed. massive cuts are coming. maybe it will wake folks up so that they will take better care of themselves.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 13:42 | 1463913 Zero Govt
Zero Govt's picture


You are talking unbridled crap about Britains diabolical NHS (State healthcare). The microscopic exception you quote of someones life being saved by the NHS is completely overwhelmed by the constant damage to peoples health the NHS does with it's usual State run incompetence. No amount of money, and Labour pissed away £Billions extra, can stop this sloppy State sham system wounding, poisoining and killing people by the tens of thousand each year.

When an ex-NHS Trust manager did a survey he found NHS hospitals killing and maiming people and not even recording (caring) to monitor their diabolically dangerous quaility of service. In good cover-up-job Statist fashion (fascism!) the Health Dept and Health Regulator (asleep at the wheel again!) dissed the survey, the Heatlh Trust running the killer hospitals threatened to sue.

A survey of Welsh NHS hospitals found you had a 1 in 10 chance of being injured by their equaly tragic hospitals, even if you weren't a patient but day visitor! A lifetimes smoking carries a 1 in 120 chance of injury. Which does the Dept of Health slap warning and health signs over, the ciggy packets or their 10 times more dangerous (in a day versus a lifetime) NHS hospitals?????

State run anything is like a Circus Clown Show without the funnies, just all the mistakes. You are talking/quoting out of your arse which is precisely where Westminster does all its 'healthcare thinking'. The NHS is not national health, it's a sad, dangerous, expensive 60 year long national joke we can no longer afford

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 14:38 | 1464102 karzai_luver
karzai_luver's picture

the usa sure as hell can't afford it either.


Sun, 07/17/2011 - 14:48 | 1464134 YHC-FTSE
YHC-FTSE's picture

God save us from Daily Mail readers. 


My girlfriend is a doctor for a major London hospital and I have a dozen or so friends from uni in the same line of work. You are talking absolute bollocks, and the alternative to the NHS is American healthcare - the cunt of all healthcare systems designed to do one thing: Profit from people's suffering. The NHS always needs improvement, but changing healthcare to a profit motivated enterprise is not the right way. Every stat I've seen concurs with that conclusion and I've done enough posts on that subject to bore anyone to tears.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 19:56 | 1464959 Zero Govt
Zero Govt's picture


great multi-choice you offer; the UK's NHS (State run shite) or the US's model (Govt/Private monopoly /fascist carve up run shite)

there is an alternative my little narrow-minded Marxist. You may not of heard of it being a State educated zombie clone, it's called the 'Free Market' (ever heard of it in school?) and it's the ONLY model in history that works... clearly neither the UK or US's State mangled/monopolised pieces of collapsing crap do not, both of which have had decades of 'testing' and run up decades of 'Fails' 

...but let's not deal with reality, let's let reality catch up with both... both systems are going bankrupt as we speak (great system you endorse)

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 16:26 | 1464401 SamuelMaverick
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Sun, 07/17/2011 - 13:20 | 1463873 HungrySeagull
HungrySeagull's picture

And hospitals continually eviscerate themselves with cost containment while trying to be a Level One trauma center to the world. 5 nurses per patient each hour, monitored beds, special rules such as Not feed by mouth, negative room pressure, isolation, no contact (Gloves etc) etc etc etc Finally capped by a Staff that have a few doctors at the top working days straight with no sleep followed by RN's who dump unwanted work onto the LPN's who dump the really bad work (Bed pans and wipe asses) onto the CPN. Everyone else including the ward clerk who gets all the papers good and bad are at the bottom.


Families sit for hours in the ER with a boo boo or a cough because they cannot afford a doctor. In the meantime drug cases and other wasteful resources are expended trying to save lives better off cast aside into Hospice.


Soon enough entire floors are shut as only medicare/medicaid paitents fill the place, unable to pay for anything meaningful. Essentially a death warehouse. I have seen a entire ward with lights out, beds rolled up and absolutely bare with room for 200 patients.

But considering the staffing requirements, where are you going to find the qualified skilled help and pay the same anywhere from Minimum wage all the way to 50+ hour 24/7? and have them do the paper work with a pencil instead of the very expensive computer networks and monitors?


If you watch the movie "Tora Tora Tora" or Pearl Harbor you will see a big hospital get flooded by casulties very quickly. A lipstick and decisions divide the dying, dead and those who can be saved.


Again, it is much easier fix a automobile or 18 wheeler/airplane/train whatever... in a shop with pricing etc and parts in advance than it is to fix a human with unknown costs until the true billing arrives in the mail.

Some of these costs run into the tens of thousands per day, to buy that patient a time to surivive horrendous injuries or sickness.


Ask yourself what value is your life and how much are you willing to liquidate for a few extra days, weeks or months?


It is far easier to work with a decent set of tools, a first aid kit and what you learned by experience on the side of the interstate waiting for the EMT's to arrive. You don't always save them all. When God is pulling on one shoulder, you must let go of the other.

Mon, 07/18/2011 - 06:55 | 1465690 swiss chick
swiss chick's picture


Sun, 07/17/2011 - 13:44 | 1463958 skipjack
skipjack's picture

Jeez, who's the ignoramus who junked you ?


The only thing I'd add to #4 of your post is that HFCS is another good reason the wide butts are getting wider.  Then I'd add a #5 and blame a bunch of the cost on defensive, ie fear of lawsuit medicine.  No socialist healthcare regime fears lawsuits.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 16:38 | 1464450 masterinchancery
masterinchancery's picture

These life expectancy stats contain tens of millions of illegals and other people born in 3d world countries who received no prenatal care,and have much lower life expectancy, so they are not representative of those citizens who grew up in the US.

The main problem with the US healthcare "system" is that there is a system; everyone should be responsible for his own health and healthcare.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 17:26 | 1464590 Lord Koos
Lord Koos's picture

"US" drug companies are really multinational.  Much basic research is done free to them courtesty of the American university system.  And it's not the food pyramid that is causing the problem, it's stuff like fried potatos and corn syrup that are causing obesity and diabetes... you don't get these kinds of problems from eating whole grains. I don't see corn syrup on the pyramid.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 19:42 | 1464936 PD Quig
PD Quig's picture

No, this is what happens when you look at statistics that include factors that have nothing to do with the health care system...such as homocides, soldiers dying in wars, etc. This life expectancy canard has been making the rounds for too many years and needs to be called for what it is: an bald-faced attempt to paint the US in a worse light than is warranted.

The health care problem doesn't start with each one of us. Give people the incentive to economize by removing govt restrictions on the types of coverages available, where policies can be purchased (i.e., across state lines), and what kinds of care is mandated (I don't want to pay for a policy that includes sex change operations), and you will see "each one of us" start to respond rationally to market signals.

Get government the fuck out of it and it will improve dramatically in both quality and cost.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 20:02 | 1464962 fockewulf190
fockewulf190's picture

Another reason which can´t be overlooked is the very high salaries US healthcare workers get compared to other western nations.  In Germany for example, a physical therapist earns about €2200 a month before taxes for a 40 hour work week.  Nurses also work for a similar amount.  Compare this to my sister, who is a nurse in a clinic in Georgia.  Her salary alone would easily cover the cost of 4 fulltime nurses over here.  Likewise, my cousin is a PT working in a rehab hospital.  She makes about 120k a year.  That would cover about 3-4 PTs over here. 

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 21:57 | 1465198 PulpCutter
PulpCutter's picture

Redpill, clinicians can practice across states lines, and health insurance can be sold across state lines (in fact, most Americans have insurance with a company that is based in another state).

So what's really going on?  Here's a recent explanation from Ezra Klein:


The big Republican idea to bring down health-care costs is to "let families and businesses buy health insurance across state lines." Jon Chait has some commentary here, but I want to simplify a little bit.

Insurance is currently regulated by states. California, for instance, says all insurers have to cover treatments for lead poisoning, while other states let insurers decide whether to cover lead poisoning, and leaves lead poisoning coverage -- or its absence -- as a surprise for customers who find that they have lead poisoning. Here's a list (pdf) of which states mandate which treatments.

The result of this is that an Alabama plan can't be sold in, say, Oregon, because the Alabama plan doesn't conform to Oregon's regulations. A lot of liberals want that to change: It makes more sense, they say, for insurance to be regulated by the federal government. That way the product is standard across all the states.

Conservatives want the opposite: They want insurers to be able to cluster in one state, follow that state's regulations and sell the product to everyone in the country. In practice, that means we will have a single national insurance standard. But that standard will be decided by South Dakota. Or, if South Dakota doesn't give the insurers the freedom they want, it'll be decided by Wyoming. Or whoever.

This is exactly what happened in the credit card industry, which is regulated in accordance with conservative wishes. In 1980, Bill Janklow, the governor of South Dakota, made a deal with Citibank: If Citibank would move its credit card business to South Dakota, the governor would literally let Citibank write South Dakota's credit card regulations. You can read Janklow's recollections of the pact here.

Citibank wrote an absurdly pro-credit card law, the legislature passed it, and soon all the credit card companies were heading to South Dakota. And that's exactly what would happen with health-care insurance. The industry would put its money into buying the legislature of a small, conservative, economically depressed state. The deal would be simple: Let us write the regulations and we'll bring thousands of jobs and lots of tax dollars to you. Someone will take it. The result will be an uncommonly tiny legislature in an uncommonly small state that answers to an uncommonly conservative electorate that will decide what insurance will look like for the rest of the nation.

Mon, 07/18/2011 - 01:00 | 1465484 redpill
redpill's picture

You're going to quote Ezra Klein on healthcare?  Go fuck yourself.


Sun, 07/17/2011 - 11:25 | 1463536 Global Hunter
Global Hunter's picture

Lifestyle, diet and stress are but 3 examples of more important factors/variables in regards to life expectancy than nationalized healthcare.  Healthcare is crap either way unless you have some dosh kicking around to get to the front of the queue. 

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 11:50 | 1463616 John Rotten
John Rotten's picture

Exactly.  We have got a bunch of lard asses scrafing down burgers, fries, and a large sugary cola multiple times a week and finishing that off with handfuls of oreo cvookies or ding dongs all while they laze around taking in American Idol.  Additionally, those Europeans take 3+ weeks of vacation (some up to six weeks annually I believe) annually while many Americans don't take, or even get, a full two weeks.  When you do decide to take a vacation for longer than a day or two, you are oft given a guilt trip instead of taking a real trip. 

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 12:16 | 1463707 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

Johnny, isn't it obvious? Americans have been made to believe that every day is "relaxed, I love my work because a chart on my wall says I do", Thank God it's Friday, every weekend is tackign on the JEt Skis and off on a vacation in your trailer home or $55 specias on South West to is sold to them as a holiday. Why would you need a vacation.

India used to work six day weeks. And get 45-60 day vacations. Now, corporate cogs follow the American System. 

Your frustration with the situation is evident! ;-)


Sun, 07/17/2011 - 13:17 | 1463886 Whoa Dammit
Whoa Dammit's picture


Americans will never be allowed to have much vacation time. If workers had a long vacation they might have time to think. If they thought, it would probably be about how much better they feel not driving in horrific traffic to work at their crappy little jobs of making some CEO that they never have and never will see extremely rich, while they themselves live in a cookie cutter subdivision surrounded by obnoxious neighbors, half of whom don’t speak English, and have just enough money left over from their paychecks after bills and taxes are paid to “invest” in retirement funds that are robbed by Wall Street bankers.


Sun, 07/17/2011 - 13:22 | 1463902 HungrySeagull
HungrySeagull's picture

Fucking A!

Take a vacay? You get replaced.

I worked pretty hard as a temp until medical issues finally stopped my work for surgeries etc. I had months in which to think. And that was before discovering Zero Hedge which basically discarded wasteful thinking and added very good ideas.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 14:58 | 1464155 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

Diet and Lifestyle indeed. I like to simply compare the way we watch sports in the US vs. Europeans.

US: We drive to stadiums, plop our asses down in a chair, eat hot dogs, and drink cheap beer, brought to us by the peanut vendor, while watching simulated mooshine runs on a giant paved oval. Feel free to substitute your favorite sport here.

Europe: They chase bike races around the country, camping along the roadside, some riding their bikes up Hors Categorie climbs, to find the best vantage point from which to view the race, or run alongside racers in a devil costume, or speedo. Often, they will carry enough food to last till race, and schwag caravan passes, and aint hot dogs, and chili-cheese fries.




Sun, 07/17/2011 - 15:32 | 1464250 trav7777
trav7777's picture

nice cherrypick there.

How about fuckin soccer, moron?

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 11:42 | 1463578 Debt Rolling
Debt Rolling's picture

"I am alive becaused of socialized medicine."

Are you sure it has something to do with socialized medicine, and not technology/people which were not available in his country? 

Ultimately, medicine is technology. Not anything else. People don't go to a hospital to spend some good time or to get empathetic comments. They want their problem (the root, not the symptoms) gone. 

The solution to illness is not empathy or solidarity, it is brute science. 

By the way, I agree that socialized healthcare system is wonderful (for those who don't have to pay for it). I lived some years in France. Everybody gets free appointments, free everything. But you can't imagine the amplor of squandering, abuse and hippies who profit from the system like it is really free, who go to the Urgencies for a headache or a cold. And I'm concerned about the financial viability of this colossus... seems like a Ponzi scheme. Works great now, but the bills are to be paid later. 

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 13:37 | 1463943 RichardP
RichardP's picture

The solution to illness is not empathy ... it is brute science.

Given all the pathogens in the environment, the basic question of science and medicine for a long time is not why do we get sick.  Rather, it is why do we stay well.  We have come to understand that, in many illnesses, it is the breakdown in the mechanisms responsible for us staying well that are responsible for the illness.  Part of what keeps us well is feeling understood and having proof that we are part of a larger group of people who all care for each other/care about each other (why are you here?).

On the whole, women tend to feel more connected with other people than men.  That fact is often used to explain why women tend to live longer than men.  The art of healing is sometimes more art than science.  Ask a doctor; they will not likely disagree.  There are many instances where doctors cannot explain why a person got well.  The answer in many instances can probably be found in discovering why the person's  wellness defense system broke down in the first place.  In many instances, repair that defense system and the body will heal itself.

Finally, Google "placebo effect" and skim over some of the recent research into placebos.  For example, see this:

Because emotions do play a role in why a person loses the ability to stay well in the face of all of the pathogens we are constantly exposed to, we cannot say arbitrarily that empathy plays no role at all in the healing process.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 14:43 | 1464118 Moe Howard
Moe Howard's picture

We must remember we are importing third world people in poor health and adding that variable to our statistics. They pay nothing in and are in poor health. Every person in Mexico with a child that has a major disease or birth defect runs across the border so we can take care of him or her. In addition, we count in premature births that do not survive - the Europeans do not. Finally, be very careful with health care statistics in the USA - about 5 years ago the CDC released a report listing us as 34th in the world - turned out it was totally manipulated by not counting large portions of the USA. Of course the retraction did not get the attention the original release did. I downloaded the spreadsheets myself and saw what they did. Someone should have be fired or gone to jail for fraud over that one. We do have socialized medicine right now. The US Government totally controls about 50%, and they cost shift from that 50% to the private insurance 50%. That's how you get the huge bills when you actually pay and aren't a sponge.

A so called "non-profit" that runs Kentucky's Medicaid program as a subcontractor [how can you be a non-profit and a subcontractor - seems to be a scam, right?] was just audited and cited for huge salaries, using limos, buying presents for people with no explaination, trips to resorts and Vegas hotels, etc. It's called a scam, not a non-profit. The amazing thing is taxpayers voted to have MORE of the health care taken over by these gangsters.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 17:30 | 1464603 Lord Koos
Lord Koos's picture

It doesn't matter how good the medical technology is, if the delivery system of that technology sucks.  If you think emergency rooms in the EU are abused, you need to take a look at ERs in the US, which are the last resort of millions of uninsured Americans.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 11:46 | 1463599 gwiss
gwiss's picture

There is very little relationship between health care spending and results, because health is for the most part determined by diet and lifestyle.  Check out this graph:


It shows that you rapidly max out benefits from health care expenses, with an elbow at around $500 per capita per year.  At this point you have maxed out any benefit from medication and surgery.  Any more, and you are simultaneously fighting against the disease that affluence causes -- sedentary lifestyle, inadequate sun exposure, junk diet full of empty calories, ubiquitous exposure to carcinogens.  That's why Cuba's life expectancy is exactly the same as Denmark, even though Denmark spends $2743 per person per year while Cuba spends $186.  In other words, there is no correlation between health care money spent and life expectancy beyond simple medical care, regardless of what political or economic system you use to distribute the care.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 14:35 | 1464099 Rusty_Shackleford
Rusty_Shackleford's picture

Please consider the graphs in this article.


As others have said, using "life expectancy" as the arbiter of what constitutes quality healthcare is a non-sequitur.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 20:53 | 1465064 gwiss
gwiss's picture

Earlier diagnosis always seems to artifically shift the survival curve, bud.  Doesn't actually mean squat.  The only real final test is if your people actually live longer, because that's where the rubber meets the road.  If US cancer care is so good, can you explain why that isn't translating to US longevity being the highest in the world?



Mon, 07/18/2011 - 18:23 | 1468194 Rusty_Shackleford
Rusty_Shackleford's picture

I'm guessing you're too lazy to read the dozens of posts on this thread that explain this quite clearly.


If US cancer care is so good, can you explain why that isn't translating to US longevity being the highest in the world?

Let me put it in a form you can understand.


People die of other things besides cancer.

Mon, 07/18/2011 - 19:11 | 1468328 GoinFawr
GoinFawr's picture

Chile, providing the same life expectancy as the US at 1/7 the cost.

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 18:39 | 1499706 gwiss
gwiss's picture

Right.  Hence the other part of my post that talks about diseases of affluence.  Which you were too lazy to read yourself.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 11:55 | 1463634 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

You socialists foolishly link lifespan with healthcare and not lifestyle. The USSR had socialized healthcare and their average lifespan was 59 years.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 13:19 | 1463890 Mike2756
Mike2756's picture

is that with or without the excessive tobacco and alcohol consumption?

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 13:24 | 1463908 HungrySeagull
HungrySeagull's picture

Useful for about 45 to 55 years. Then you are cast aside. And that is with Vodka.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 13:24 | 1463907 snowball777
snowball777's picture

Sure, "right living" will cure breech births, congenital heart defects, and leukemia!

Lifestyle is an important factor, but it isn't the only factor.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 17:23 | 1464583 chunkylover42
chunkylover42's picture

True, but there are a hell of a lot more people making poor lifetstyle choices with a fatty diet, lack of exercise, and excessive use of drugs and alcohol than breech births, heart defects and leukemia put together.  Fact is, our system is really good at treating diabetes because so many damn people have it (often as a result of a poor diet).

There is a reason more people come to this country for treatment of the most serious diseases than leave here.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 15:22 | 1464218 trav7777
trav7777's picture


You DO understand, right, that the entire reason for the US's poor health metrics is a result of blacks and hispanics?

Redo your comparison using whites and asians.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 16:49 | 1464483 Rocket-Man
Rocket-Man's picture

What is stunning is that the life expectancy graph starts with a "zero" level at 75.  That is another way to visually lie with statistics.

78 is lower than 83 but it is not stunningly low. 

Contrary to Tyler's title, these two graphs don't even begin to give any insight into the issues or the statistics.

Here is a surprising statistic, from a 2010 CDC report,  if you are Hispanic in the U.S., your life expectancy is 80.6.  If you are White, it's 78.1 and if you are Black it's 72.9. 


Does this mean that Hispanics are getting better health care in America and eating better than non-Hispanics?

As for socialized medicine, my personal experience is different.  My Canadian mother-in-law had her pension and all her belongings siezed by the government and she was instituionalized against her will with nothing that could be done since she had no power of attorney in place.  My wife had to fight the institutions countless times to keep them from literally killing her by a hands off approach of letting people die that were just not eating!!, because they did not like the food.

The last thing you want is some government institution making decisions for you when you are really sick or when you are older.



Sun, 07/17/2011 - 23:44 | 1465396 Creepy Lurker
Creepy Lurker's picture

"Does this mean that Hispanics are getting better health care in America and eating better than non-Hispanics?"

Considering nearly all of them get thier food and healthcare paid for by Whites and Asians, quite likely.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 16:50 | 1464487 malek
malek's picture

Now also list some examples where people died because of socialized medicine, for example because they needed to wait many months for simple procedures.

And why are there no shining countries like Cuba or Russia on that list.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 23:09 | 1465344 MrPalladium
MrPalladium's picture

"I am stunned by the revelation that our life expectancy is so low when compared to other Westernized nations."

Are you implying that the U.S. is still a  "Westernized nation'?

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 11:16 | 1463516 Mongo
Mongo's picture

Burgers... Bitchez!

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 11:24 | 1463534 pgarner
pgarner's picture

French fries! And get me another Coke!

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 15:36 | 1464248 docj
docj's picture

No kidding! Deep-fried starch with a (high-fructose corn syrup) sugar-laden beverage - super-sized, of course.

Might as well load a snub-nose .38 special, point it directly behind your right ear and pull the trigger.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 11:16 | 1463517 Corn1945
Corn1945's picture

Cost shifting. People on insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid don't see what the care actually costs and don't pay much out of pocket. Recipe for disaster.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 11:17 | 1463520 oldmanagain
oldmanagain's picture

As we know most countries, that have the best care and cheapest care have government programs.  In the USA the best programs is the VA.  Our rapacious system will, is breaking the bank. It is not that there is no cure, but stupid ideology prevails.  Animal spirits are eating us alive.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 12:03 | 1463647 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

Is that why Canadian politicians and ministers come to the US for medical treatment? If you think the VA has the best hospitals you are retarded.

Next time you get sick, go to the local county hospital and sit there for 20 hours. 

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 13:03 | 1463845 disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

I didn't have to wait at all. They called me right in, told me i was fine from looking at the computer and despite my protestations and sent me on my way. How's that for efficiency!

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 16:06 | 1464340 shano
shano's picture

Actually, right now, the VA is rated the # 1 health care delivery system in the USA.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 14:11 | 1464039 HungrySeagull
HungrySeagull's picture

It is the same VA that is struggling with 500 patients a day instead of 70 pre-9/11.

Doctors there have told us over and over again, how much it is easy to clock out at 5 PM and go home instead of living in a village somewhere always on call.

We hardly go to our VA, partly because you must disarm in one of the most dangerous parts of town to get into the place. It is also one of the very best places to have a GSW. On all sides is several different Hospitals where you stand walking out of the parking corral.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 14:24 | 1464044 Rusty_Shackleford
Sun, 07/17/2011 - 14:40 | 1464096 Boiling Frogs
Boiling Frogs's picture


I'm curious as to your experience with the VA system. Are you a vet?

I spent about three of six years as a resident at a large VA hospital about a decade ago. While I don't know of any studies, my anecdotal experience is that more vets than not on the whole find that getting healthcare at the VA a very frustrating experience. 

It is/was not unusual to find the latest, top-of-the-line MRI scanner, operating room equipment, or any other capital intensive healthcare implement. The electronic medical record software is likely the best system available. The problem is the operator of said equipment and software. Four out five VA employees are postal workers who happen to work in a hospital. 

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 14:54 | 1464146 Moe Howard
Moe Howard's picture

What do you call a doctor that graduates at the bottom of his class?


Answer: My VA doctor.


The best program is not the VA. I have used both. I'd rather pay, and so did my father. It is a bloated unresponsive monster that employs those who cannot work elsewhere due to malpractice laws or incompetence. Like it's sister, military medicine, it's great if you are healthy. Not so great if you are sick.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 15:01 | 1464163 HungrySeagull
HungrySeagull's picture

I respectfully disagree.


Over the years without naming specific doctors within the system who confided in us, there are some of the best and brightest there is. A few years ago one launched into a memorable rant against Obamacare in our patient room. It made us ashamed because here he is trying to make the system work for the patients and they constantly fight him tooth and nail.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 15:24 | 1464226 Boiling Frogs
Boiling Frogs's picture

Being conscientious and working within the VA system is a Sisyphean task.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 15:00 | 1464158 docj
docj's picture

In the USA the best programs is the VA.

Good to see some things are constant in the universe - politicians are whores, we're totally freaking screwed, and oldmanagain's self-beclowning continues apace.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 11:17 | 1463522 Seize Mars
Seize Mars's picture


So what you are saying is that it is too expensive (first chart) and that it's not working (life expectency). We know this already. What do you want to do about it?

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 11:20 | 1463526 Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden's picture

Asking rhetorical questions is a good start.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 12:02 | 1463662 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

You are incorrectly linking one chart to the other. First, you have to prove that the deaths are linked to lack of healthcare or substandard healthcare and not lifestyle. What country has more fast food restaurants than the US? Which of those countries has an inner city youth murder rate similar to the US? When you have ten thousand teenage gang members killed each year, it skews the numbers.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 13:12 | 1463864 ServingMyKing
ServingMyKing's picture

Also, how do you know the life expectancies from the different countries are calculated the same way?  Maybe (probably) its an unfair comparison.  

I've heard that some countries don't count a life until its two years old while the US counts a life if it survives outside of the womb (premies too?).  If we counted aborted humans maybe we could calculate life expectancies in the 40s.

Do you think the some of these failed socialized healthcare systems might game the numbers?

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 13:27 | 1463917 HungrySeagull
HungrySeagull's picture

I am a three month preemie when in the 50's and 60's Preemies either lived or died. Essentially today's standard for a Preemie Baby is 500 grams if I believe. Less than that? They are kept comfortable until dead.

It took me 6 months in a incubator. They essentially took my blood, put oxygen into it and shove it back into the body while the lungs rested for weeks. And even then it was not gauranteed.

The Bill? They ripped it up. Now I must earn it.

Mon, 07/18/2011 - 10:44 | 1466224 smiler03
smiler03's picture

I'm not a statistician but I do know that infant mortality in the USA is only 34th "best" in the world. So it could be that the USA is even worse if infant mortality is being excluded.

Take note that both of these lists use statistics from the CIA world factbook. 


Sun, 07/17/2011 - 14:38 | 1464103 Rusty_Shackleford
Rusty_Shackleford's picture

Who's to say we're not getting our money's worth.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 11:19 | 1463525 pepperspray
pepperspray's picture

I haven't been to a doctor since 1998

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 11:27 | 1463541 Global Hunter
Global Hunter's picture

1998 eh?  When I broke my arm in 2006 it was the first time I'd seen a doctor since 98!  Stay off their legalized meds/drugs that they're always peddling and its amazing to discover the healing properties of the human body and mind.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 12:20 | 1463720 cossack55
cossack55's picture

Have you been paying attention to all the new and pending legislation that will curtail ones ability to buy supplements and herbs?  Big pharma was created in Berlin in 35'.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 12:22 | 1463726 toady
toady's picture


I went in for a broken toe and three months later I was on lipitor, welbuterin, albuterol, and xanex.

I just had enough and stopped taking them.

The doctors kept saying 'you can't do that!'

So I cancelled my appointments and I feel fine.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 13:14 | 1463871 ServingMyKing
ServingMyKing's picture

If you keep going to doctors they will eventually kill you.  Has nothing to survival rates and timelines.  /sarc

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 13:30 | 1463925 HungrySeagull
HungrySeagull's picture

No, there is a bit of truth in that. Xanax is one medicine where tolerance for a dose grows. First it's .25 then .5 then 1 then 2 then 4 then 6 )At 6 you are eating bricks and MUST not stop...) up to 10.

Or they switch you onto something else that is in the same family and soon enough you are on medicines that alter your brain and eventually experience a slow spiral.


My doctor is a butcher, if there is something to fix, he will do it by knife and a few pain killers/antibioties. Otherwise good luck!

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 15:00 | 1464161 Moe Howard
Moe Howard's picture

Who junked you? A guy that works at BigPharma?

Mon, 07/18/2011 - 00:00 | 1465417 Creepy Lurker
Creepy Lurker's picture

+100 to this whole thread.

High BP runs in my family, regardless of weight. When I started hearing my heartbeat in my left ear 24/7, I knew the genetic jig was probably up. Go to the doctor, she wants me to get bloodwork. My cholesterol is high, which she doesn't like, so we have a 10 minute discussion about how I'd like to try tighter control on my diet and more exercise before resorting to meds. I'm middle aged, but consider myself too young to be getting up and taking a handful of pulls every day. She agrees wholeheartedly.

Then, as I'm walking out the door, she hands me f'ing statins. I considered finding another doctor, but I doubt it would make any difference.

Your doctor isn't a person. Its Pfizer.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 11:35 | 1463571 snowball777
snowball777's picture

And billions never see one in their entire life. Did you have a point?

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 12:18 | 1463712 cossack55
cossack55's picture

I believe Joseph Mengele was a MD.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 13:19 | 1463893 snowball777
snowball777's picture

So were C. Everett Koop and Kevorkian. And?

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 11:41 | 1463589 Dr. Richard Head
Dr. Richard Head's picture

I visited a doctor for a sinus infection earlier this year. I have insurance, but thought it to be silly to use my insurance for this visit just to get some antibiotics. They said it would be $50 cash for the visit and I could simply pick up the antibiotics with the script. I ran it through my insurance just to see the cost difference - $150 charged to insurance, $50 was still my share.

The cost issue is an obvious problem, but by who's fault? The patient running an oil change through their auto insurance or the overcharging doctor? How about the fact that antibiotics are "regulated" in our "free" Amerkica requiring a script, but freely available without doctor's visit?

I figured out a way to avoid it all together though - organic apple cidar vinegar (2 tablespoons) in 8 oz of water twice a day for the week. That cleared up my sinus infection and, am now after 5 years of no antibiotics, back to replacing real treatment of ailments without destroying my digestive track.

I'm pretty the FDA will find a way to force me back into the system again anyway, but I am doing my damndest to avoid being part of that particular problem all together.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 12:56 | 1463823 UGrev
UGrev's picture

Vinegar is the tits when it comes to infections like that. 

I also encourage people to stay as far away from Aspartame as possible and soda in general. I lost nearly 25 pounds in 6 weeks after halting soda in-take, dead stop, and switching to water. 

Aspartame was wreaking havoc on my joints and I didn't know it. It took a few trials to figure out what it was that was causing it. It was also a key factor in my 9mm kidney stone which required a lithotripsy. 

Aspartame is also widely known to cause an INCREASE in apetite.. so all those, so called, diet or reduced sugar products actually make you MORE hungry because (and this is how I understand it), your body hasn't received an "expected" amount of sugar or enough sugar to control hunger based on blood sugar level. 

This shit is banned in Europe and NOT approved by the FDA prior to 1980. This is a big FUCK YOU shout out to Rumsfeld and the rest of the food control shit stains who are wreaking this plague upon our country. 


Sun, 07/17/2011 - 14:14 | 1464045 HungrySeagull
HungrySeagull's picture

Mine cleared my sinus infection right up. It was also the last time I saw him.

He had Bone Cancer of which he told no one. And a gold digging wife. A self inflicted GSW with "DNR" self pinned to the shirt took care of that before it took away his remaining years and love of life. He knew what was coming and decided it's time on his own.

To this day I knew something was up, but never took a extra moment to talk to him man to man instead of doctor-patient.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 17:02 | 1464522 malek
malek's picture

But I do hope you are aware that on occasion you might be very, very happy to have and use antibiotics!
And if you use some, you use up the whole pack and not stop when you start feeling better!!

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 22:16 | 1465238 Dr. Richard Head
Dr. Richard Head's picture

But of course, they have their place like anything else in the "practice" of medicine. Many use them on a monthly basis for every time they have a bad bowel movement, hence the non-over-the-counter nature and super-bug strains.

I just question who is at fault for the increased medical insurance need for maintenance issues, as opposed to the intended nature of health insurance. Is it the system itself, the abuse of the system, and more importantly, what party that is abusing the system is causing more of the harm.

In the end, most our healthcare needs are at the reach of an organic aisle of pretty much any grocery store. You are right to point out there is a time and a place for antibiotics.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 11:25 | 1463529 bank guy in Brussels
bank guy in Brussels's picture

The US health care system is an astonishing, incomprehensible disaster from a Western European perspective. Typically in our countries here, we have universal health care, everyone is covered, the system works well, and we spend enormously less than America does, and it's not that mythical 'long waiting period' disaster that is the American bugaboo about 'socialised medicine'.

In some cases, like in Belgium, it's a significantly private-sector health care provision too. Health insurance here is mandatory, every legal resident is included, there's very little insurance or other cost for working people and jobless, people largely pick their own doctors and so on, and we can usually see someone right away. It's not a 'problem' here.

But then we have great public transport too, and very cheap, which Americans also don't have. Fifty-one euros a month buys a free pass for unlimited riding on all public transport in Brussels, including all métro trains, all trams, all city buses, and even all regional buses and Belgian national trains passing through the city.

Seems like so many things in the USA are just designed for conning and grifting the US citizens by the big companies.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 11:32 | 1463548 Bob
Bob's picture

And calling it "liberty."  Moron nation all the way.  But, hey, at least we're not socialists! 

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 12:07 | 1463680 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

Yay free shit and government control of your life all the way you fucking morons. Why not free housing and transportation too. All you have to do is sign your rights over to the government. Who the fuck needs freedom and liberty when Big Brother takes care of you from womb to tomb.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 13:09 | 1463859 toady
toady's picture

Fuck fuck buzzword fuck buzzword fuck fuck.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 14:19 | 1463940 Bob
Bob's picture

So we have more "Liberty" than the Canadians, Europeans, Brits, Australians, etc? 

What a crock of shit your "Liberty" is--hell, I wouldn't know I had it unless people were dying and living without dignity in my own country to prove it to me. 

"Liberty" has been the greatest hustle since the Roman Catholic Church.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 15:27 | 1464237 goldsaver
goldsaver's picture

Really Bob? If you hate liberty, you should really give slavery a whirl. I hear you can catch a plane to Havana from Mexico City.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 15:46 | 1464284 Bob
Bob's picture

I hate assholes wiping it over their tongues and handing it to me to close some kind of deal.  Many are twisted fucks, in my opinion.  No deal.

Get a clue: It's just a word.  So economical to use. And effective beyond belief. 

The next Fuehrer will come with a cross in one hand and a flag in the other. 

We can do much better, imo. 

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 16:55 | 1464504 hidingfromhelis
hidingfromhelis's picture

+1 on the Sinclair Lewis reference.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 11:34 | 1463569 Mr Lennon Hendrix
Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

in our countries here, we have universal health care

Even Libya has universal health care.  I think Obama was jealous of Gaddafi.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 12:08 | 1463684 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

Perhaps you should move to Libya or Cuba. You have a wide choice of countries to move to for your free healthcare.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 12:47 | 1463792 Mr Lennon Hendrix
Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

Libya has free health care, free education up the the PhD level, it has huge man made aquifers, and a very noble population.  Cuba stood up against the Italian Mafia and American oilgarchs.  History will remember them kindly.  The fascist US, not so much.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 14:29 | 1464085 Amish Hacker
Amish Hacker's picture

I was in Cuba in 1993, as a journalist studying the Cuban health care system. It's really all about delivery. It does no good to have the very latest whizz-bang technology, as we do in the US, if you can't afford it, or if your insurance company won't allow you access to it. Better to provide a community clinic in every neighborhood, as they do in Cuba, offering health screenings, immunizations, and the routine procedures that comprise the vast majority of people's actual medical needs. This is one reason why a baby born in Havana has a longer life expectancy than one born in Washington, D.C.

This is not to say that Cuba doesn't have advanced, modern medical technologies, also. They do, and as a result "medical tourism" draws many patients to the island from other countries for treatment. (Note that Hugo Chavez is currently in Havana, apparently receiving chemo-therapy.) I realize that my trip was some years ago now, but when I visited the Cuban National Oncology Institute in 1993, cutting-edge research was being conducted into the properties of shark cartilage. (Apparently, sharks don't get cancer.) Don't make the mistake of thinking that Cuban medicine is somehow second-rate.

Cuban medical schools have trained too many doctors, so in Cuba MD's do many procedures that are performed by RN's or nurse practitioners here, and doctors' pay is shockingly low. On a brighter note, having too many MD's also means that Cuba can send more doctors abroad to work in Third World countries than the World Health Organization does. Cuba's response to the earthquake in Haiti, for example, was swift, well-organized, and comprehensive, unlike our own.

Please don't misunderstand. I am under no illusions about Cuba as a "workers' paradise." Life is difficult there, and government corruption and subsidized inefficiency are systemic. I would just like to see us Americans set aside for a moment our MSM-fostered prejudices about Cuba, and apply to our own health care system some of the lessons of Cuba's experience. There is much to be learned.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 15:07 | 1464187 Moe Howard
Moe Howard's picture

So Cuba saved the Hatians, eh? You sir, are either willfully ignorant or are well paid for your postings.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 16:59 | 1464517 RichardP
RichardP's picture

No claim was made that Cuba saved the Hatians.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 19:02 | 1464854 Amish Hacker
Amish Hacker's picture

Please, Moe (and Rusty, below), relax, take a few deep breaths. Cuba poses absolutely no military or economic threat to the U.S., and no one is going to force you to go live in Havana.

The charts in the article make it clear that we Americans are spending too much for health care, and we're getting a very poor return on our investment. My point was that America's health care system could certainly be improved, and one way to do that would be to learn from what other countries are doing. Instead of dismissing Sweden as "too socialist," or France as, well, "too French," let's keep an open mind here. Even about Cuba.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 14:02 | 1464014 Rusty_Shackleford
Rusty_Shackleford's picture

If anyone's interested in what the real Cuban "Healthcare" system looks like, here's something for you.



Sun, 07/17/2011 - 14:23 | 1464068 Mr Lennon Hendrix
Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

Trade embargo.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 14:53 | 1464138 Rusty_Shackleford
Rusty_Shackleford's picture

You obviously didn't read the article.


Because, of course, the US is the ONLY place in the entire world that manufactures soap, paint, light bulbs, Raid Roach Killer, clean sheets, etc, right?  I mean, how can we expect the Cubans to clean up human feces without help from Uncle Sugar.


Why don't these squalid hellholes have any of the equipment manufactured by this CUBAN company?


I wonder if Hugo Chavez's Hospital looks like those pictures. 

Probably not. 

Some people are more equal than others.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 11:36 | 1463573 markar
markar's picture

and the fact you don't even have a govt means you're that much ahead of the game.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 12:00 | 1463652 John Rotten
John Rotten's picture

Perhaps society there is a little over engineered.  Don't worry, we are desperately trying to catch up.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 12:02 | 1463665 Misean
Misean's picture

Belgium is about the size of a postage stamp. So, it's hardly surprising 2 buses and a tram cover its transportation needs.  As to costs, 51 euro/month plus how much tax per person, whether they use it or not?

As for government health care, when someone can give me a proper reason why popularity contest winners can put a gun to my head and force me to buy something I may not want for myself and the idiot down the street, I'll consider the rest of it.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 12:59 | 1463832 Urban Redneck
Urban Redneck's picture

51 euro is a heavily subsidized cost even in tiny Belgium, look at the cost per gallon of gas in Belgium and the population density.  In the canton of Zurich (which 10x the size of Washington DC, or 43% of the size of Rhode Island, or a whopping 6% of the size of postage stamp sized Belgium) a monthly 2nd class travel pass within the canton is CHF 227.  In 2010, operating revenues covered less than 60% of operating expenses for the ZVV system.  Switzerland does have the most comprhensive public transportation system of any nation in the world, but it isn't cheap...

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 12:11 | 1463691 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

Yeah compare a tiny country the size of Delaware to the US. 


The biggest con of all is being run out of Brussels. The Europeon Union that is enslaving Greece, Ireland, Portugal etc

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 12:30 | 1463746 narnia
narnia's picture

.  If government control is such a good cost constraint, why have the costs of procedures for cosmetic surgery, laser eye surgery, and a host of other elective procedures (not covered by govt or insurance) increased in quality and dramatically decreased in cost over the past decade while the majority of covered, AMA practice dictated medicine have not?  It's an economic reality that people spend THEIR money more efficiently for a trade off of wants & needs than a 3rd party does.  

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 15:10 | 1464190 Rusty_Shackleford
Rusty_Shackleford's picture

Don't confuse them with facts.  Especially the economic ones.


''Single-Payer Health Care Now!!!''
''Single-Payer Health Care Now!!!''
''Single-Payer Health Care Now!!!''


(Note the exclamation points. That's to communicate earnestness, certitude, and bitter indignation -the essential elements of the statist's approach to policymaking: When promoting radical change,... passion, naïveté, and good intentions are what matter most. Real-world unforseen consequences be damned.)


Sun, 07/17/2011 - 17:20 | 1464576 narnia
narnia's picture

you mean a single payer system like north korea, cuba, the old soviet union?  

if we went to a single payer system in the US, the health care field would end up looking a lot like education.  the public system would be for the masses & the Mayo Clinic & other pharma & non-pharma private institutions would pop up with all the best doctors.  

then, morons like you would claim progress is seizing or outlawing all of the private institutions for the public good... because health care for the "society" would improve if only the people who screwed up the system for the masses were given monopoly control.

i'm simply amazed people still bring up socialist crap.  the position is as absurd & obtuse as the failed war on drugs, the ridiculous war on terror, or the even more ridiculous central planning of the currency & banking system.  

Mon, 07/18/2011 - 01:55 | 1465535 Rusty_Shackleford
Rusty_Shackleford's picture

Dude, it's a joke.  I'm on your side.


I forgot to add the /sarc tag.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 15:04 | 1464174 Moe Howard
Moe Howard's picture

Yes, and the trains ran on time in Facist Italy. Your point is pointless. Germans pay church tax too. Great for the empty churches. We are not European Cattle.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 15:06 | 1464183 docj
docj's picture

You do realize of course that pretty much every piece of technology and every drug you're counting on in your socialist medicine paradise was developed here, with said development paid for by that massive cost differential you see in that chart above, right?

Socialism works reasonably well in tiny, culturally homogeneous populations - like, say, Belgium (which, as has been pointed out, has about the population of Delaware) or the Scandanavian countries (where Mother Gaia's winter took care of anyone with a bad work ethic centuries ago). Good luck expanding that to the economic and cultural basket-case that is the 300+ million in the US.

Mon, 07/18/2011 - 09:14 | 1465947 pan-the-ist
pan-the-ist's picture

docj - Be honest - what has that 'advancement' really accomplished in the last 30 years - are we really that much better off?

Mon, 07/18/2011 - 10:47 | 1466238 docj
docj's picture

That "advancement" has made a lot of people a whole lot of money. Aside from that, in the agragate, I've got nothing.

I honestly believe we're worse off, actually.

Mon, 07/18/2011 - 10:50 | 1466245 docj
docj's picture

Server-crash inspired dup. Sorry.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 11:21 | 1463530 Madcow
Madcow's picture

It appears to me that the destruction of the US was meticulously planned and that all of this was intentional. An external enemy could not possibly have been more effective. 

The future: multiple decades of deflation, bankruptcy, foreclosure, property seizure, starvation, economic chaos ...  its hard for me to believe that all of this just came out of the blue - "like upon little cats feet" (which is how Nancy Pelosi describes it) - really??  All of this just came out of nowhere.  

The collapse of the West is unfolding with military precision.


Sun, 07/17/2011 - 11:31 | 1463556 Mr Lennon Hendrix
Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

I can't imagine how happy the Illuminatti were to sell poison to the populace at a premium.  It's even in the water.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 12:17 | 1463710 Maxter
Maxter's picture

I've asked myself the same question.  Is this on purpose?

I don't know, but I remember reading a quote where globalist said americans need to be "destroyed" (at least in term of power) to allow a one world governement.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 11:24 | 1463535 trainrobbery
trainrobbery's picture

inefficient markets and goverment interference.  It so obvious, yet no one wants to deal with it.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 11:28 | 1463543 Mr Lennon Hendrix
Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

And that is besides the point.  Western "Medicine" is the most hampered and ineffectual "science" out there.  Fuckin' "science". 

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 11:26 | 1463538 Mr Lennon Hendrix
Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

Western "Medicine" is a joke anyway.


Sun, 07/17/2011 - 11:29 | 1463550 Global Hunter
Global Hunter's picture

I was fortunate enough to discover Hahnemann.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 12:12 | 1463693 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

In that case why the fuck should I turn over 20% of my income for a government run joke?

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 13:30 | 1463915 snowball777
snowball777's picture

a) It's 4.1% of your income; stop exaggerating

b) it's paid for by government, not run by them; that would be actual socialized medicine

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 11:28 | 1463544 JW n FL
JW n FL's picture

Uncle Sam is Broke.. because..

Uncle Sam Taxed the shit out of the middle..

Uncle Sam gave Tax Breaks and Subsidies to his Corporate Lobby Dollar Wielding Friends..

Those Corporations moved 6 Million Manufacturing Jobs to China over the last 10 years.. (really 11 now)

and those Corporations were paid by the "We the People's" Tax dollars to undermine / gut America's Manufacturing and Tax Base.


We gave away our tax base.. One better! We PAID Corporations to Undermine Our Tax Base and Our Manufacturing Base!


The Lobby Whores!

Were paid Lobby Dollars!

To Provide Tax Breaks and Subsidies! That DESTROYED! America's Manufacturing Base.. Which as well undermined America's Tax Base!


50,000 Manufacturing Jobs a MONTH!

Were shipped Off Shore!

For Tax Breaks and Subsidies that "We the People" paid for! (plus cheap Chinese Labor)


Government Paid Corporations "We the People's" Tax Dollars.. to DESTROY America's Manufacturing Sector and Tax Base that those jobs equated too.


what is 6 million people paying taxes worth.. not the top 1% who pay NOTHING! but the middle manufacturing jobs.. $50k to $100k average for the last decade?


25%? on $100k ='s $25k X's 6m ='s $1,500,000,000,000 (Social Security is passed straight thru, IOU my ass)


That is nothing to sneeze at.


Now multiple that $1.5 Trillion times 10 years.. we are down $1.5 Trillion in Tax Revenue per year! for those Manufacturing Jobs.. and over ten years (it’s really 11 years now, so even more) it would be $15 Trillion..


**************$15 Trillion Fucking Dollars!***************


In Tax revenue GONE to China! And “We the People” paid for it! Who Voted for that shit? Who among you voted to Gut America’s manufacturing sector?


Who among you voted to undermine America’s Tax Base? WHO?????

So the same amount of money we paid to move off shore is what we as a Country owe..




***** “Over the last ten years, China has mounted the biggest challenge to the U.S. manufacturing sector ever seen, threatening producers of steel, chemicals, glass, paper, drugs and any number of other items with prices they cannot match. Not coincidentally, the United States has lost an average of 50,000 manufacturing jobs every month during the same period.” *****


That is the 50,000 jobs a month.. equaling 6m jobs +++ becuae it has been 11 years now!!

Top U.S. Lobbying Banks Got Biggest Bailouts


1.    [PDF]

A Fistful of Dollars:Lobbying and the Financial Crisis; Financial ...

File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - View as HTML
A Fistful of Dollars: Lobbying and the Financial Crisis by. Deniz Igan ...


that is the lobby dollars! what else do you need to see? to wake the fuck up? let me know! and I will make it dumb enough for you to understand!


and that is what we owe as a Country.


Bush signing the World Trade Organization Docs to Ship Jobs Off Shore!!



File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - Quick View
Mexico Threatens First Complaint Against China at the WTO on Investment ... President Bush signed into law the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of ...


Sun, 07/17/2011 - 11:29 | 1463549 JW n FL
JW n FL's picture

at the 5 minute mark.. is when the description of America’s Voting Habits is described accurately.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 14:19 | 1464056 Sun Tsu
Sun Tsu's picture

NAFTA & Repeal Glass-Stiegel - Robert Ruben, US Sec. Treasury, Goldman Sachs, Citibank; and Campaign Finance Advisors to Bill Clinton

WTO & NAFTA without Tax Reform or a VAT resulted in cheap products, expensive health care, and the inevitable unintended (ha) consequences compunded by Demographics.  Blue collar jobs in manufacturing have virtually dissappeared as it is cheaper to replace the products made by GE in China than repair them.  Jeffrey Immelt is not part of the solution, GE is part of the problem. 

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 11:37 | 1463575 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

Healthcare is OVERPRICED, it is a RIP-OFF.

15% return for healthcare corporations for 20 years?

Who's milking who?

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 11:45 | 1463605 Vendetta
Vendetta's picture

I would bet that 15% return number is actually very conservative, most large corporations like 40% or better returns on whatever 'product' or 'service' they provide.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 12:16 | 1463704 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

Why don't you take a look at Tenet Healthcare and see what their return is. With a 40% return, you would think that hospitals would be sprouting up all over the place. Who doesn't want a 40% return?

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 15:01 | 1464162 karzai_luver
karzai_luver's picture

child please..............You are saying the more hospitals.....

why bother!



Sun, 07/17/2011 - 11:52 | 1463627 chunga
chunga's picture

One of my wife's cardiac patients is now "hurtin' for certain" in medical parlance.

Instead of sending him home after his cardiac treatment someone figured they'd better check his gall bladder "just in case" of something.

He is now in the Intensive Care Unit with a life threatening infection as a direct result of the gall bladder check. Will very likely lead to his death.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 13:28 | 1463920 toady
toady's picture

I have seen this too...

They always want to run more tests. Don't let them!

A couple of my older relatives got tested to death. Went in for one thing, kept getting 'tested' for other things, and never came out.

I have told my doctor and family that I will allow two tests, then I'm leaving. I can't get any lawyers to write that up, all they will do is 'do not resucitate' and 'don't put me on the machine'.

Thats where they really make the money; running thousands of tests during your last few days.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 13:28 | 1463921 toady
toady's picture

I have seen this too...

They always want to run more tests. Don't let them!

A couple of my older relatives got tested to death. Went in for one thing, kept getting 'tested' for other things, and never came out.

I have told my doctor and family that I will allow two tests, then I'm leaving. I can't get any lawyers to write that up, all they will do is 'do not resucitate' and 'don't put me on the machine'.

Thats where they really make the money; running thousands of tests during your last few days.

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 13:54 | 1463988 HungrySeagull
HungrySeagull's picture

I will also charge that after you are dead, prior to family notification there is a time where new graduates of medical school are lined up in the room and down the hall and take turns praciting CPR or whatever on your corpse.

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