Study confirms widespread corruption and price-gouging give us our high-cost, low yield medical system.
By King Lars
Photo courtesy of NCI
The U.S. economic system is balanced upon the shaky foundation of a corporatist-capitalist free-for-all: inter-related socio-economic groups vying for their own means of survival while those who pull the strings reap the real rewards. These tragic set of circumstances have been underscored in a timely analysis of our healthcare system. A recent study from The Lancet, one of the three giants in international medical journals, found that the United States has one of the most over-priced health care systems among industrialized nations.
The study revealed that, despite being the costliest medical care among industrialized nations, the U.S. healthcare system provides the worst overall quality of treatment, costing an estimated $9000 per person each year. For reference, most other developed nations spend closer to $4000 per person each year, with similar or greater quality than that of the U.S.
Many of these character flaws present in the nation’s health care market are generated from within the system itself.
In essence, American health care is assigned the same station as commodities such as televisions and laptop computers: a luxury good to be provided to those who can afford it. Lifesaving treatments are withheld from those who are in need due to scarcity, dramatically increasing the market price. On the backs of the nation’s billionaires who have irrigated the economic system, the healthcare market has the highest returns nationwide, behind only automobiles and hotels.
Viewing medical care through the lens of economic gain has created a unique abnormality that again sets apart Americans from the citizens of other industrialized nations given that the costs of medical treatment are the leading cause of bankruptcy in the nation. This is rarely seen in other advanced countries, most having their own safety net in the form of Universal Health Care in order to provide medical treatment to its residents.
Many healthcare insiders have made comments that crack through the veneer of T.V. doctors and inclusive prescription advertisements and reveal its corrupt nature. As far back as 2009, Marcia Angell, M.D, editor-in-chief at the New England Journal of Medicine, lamented that:
“So many reforms would be necessary to restore integrity to clinical research and medical practice that they cannot be summarized briefly. Many would involve congressional legislation and changes in the FDA, including its drug approval process. But there is clearly also a need for the medical profession to wean itself from industry money almost entirely. … Breaking the dependence of the medical profession on the pharmaceutical industry will take more than appointing committees and other gestures.”
However, the realization of such measures seems uncertain given the alarming presence of commercial money in American politics, entrenched within the political system and funding many prominent politicians. This continues all the way down into the very medical schools which are in turn funded by prominent figures in government, creating a circular model that dampens the motivation for change.
The U.S. government is the most corrupt in the world, and this corruption has seeped deep into the fabric of the citizen’s life, controlling what commodities are available to them. This reality is even more pressing considering that the country is currently reeling from the coronavirus pandemic, which has shattered everyday life for most Americans and left many unable to work or live as they once did. Action is required at the federal and state level in order to ensure that outside money from deep state investors is kept separate from the political and health care systems in order to ensure a greater quality of life while also safeguarding civil procedure.
Until then, the American people continue to be held hostage by the greed of the Medical Industrial Complex.