Thursday, 7 November 2013

US healthcare

Medicine, healthcare - we don't need Foucault to tell us that it's not just science that determines how these things work out in practice and why they vary so much from country to country. Here are two stories about US healthcare that tell us so more about culture than healthcare.

First, this link tells us that if you take out fatal injuries then US life expectancy would be the highest in the world, i.e. don't blame America's healthcare for its pretty unimpressive life expectancy statistics.

Second, this link is to an article in the New England Journal of Medicine saying "many patients in the United States experience substantial harm from medical interventions whose risks have not been fully discussed. The undisclosed toxicity? High cost, which can cause considerable financial strain". And so, the authors continue, because "treatments can be “financially toxic,” imposing out-of-pocket costs that may impair patients' well-being, we contend that physicians need to disclose the financial consequences of treatment alternatives just as they inform patients about treatments' side effects".

Perhaps the moral is that you get what you pay for - unless you suffer a fatal injury first.

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