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Disease and Disadvantage in the United States and in England

That’s the title of a study published by The Journal of the American Medical Association. The study attempted to determine whether the "considerably greater" US health expenditure of US$5274 per capita vs the UK percapita expenditure of US$ 2164 resulted in a better health outcome for Americans.

Not even slightly surprisingly it doesn’t. It’s bad, shockingly bad. How Bad? This bad:

The top of your American society is as unhealthy as the bottom of their British one.

The United State has a considerably greater expenditure on medical care (US $5274 per capita) than in the United Kingdom (US $2164 adjusting for purchasing power). To determine whether that expenditure translates into better health outcomes for the adult US population, data on the degree of morbidity in each country beyond the childhood years are needed.

Given the strong link between socioeconomic position and health in both countries, cross-country comparisons of morbidity should examine variation of morbidity according to comparable measures of socioeconomic position. Cross-country comparison of social differences in illness provides some insight into potential causal explanations. Access to health care is a particular case in point. Although publicly funded health care is available in both countries to citizens older than 65 years, the UK National Health Service has no age criterion for eligibility. Thus, British households are more isolated from any financial impacts of out-of-pocket medical expenses. A similar argument applies to earnings and job losses, for which the more generous UK income maintenance system should mitigate any effects of health changes on income and wealth there compared with what is available in the United States.


US residents are much less healthy than their English counterparts and these differences exist at all points of the SES distribution … The US population in late middle age is less healthy than the equivalent British population for diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, myocardial infarction, stroke, lung disease, and cancer … These differences are not solely driven by the bottom of the SES distribution. In many diseases, the top of the SES distribution is less healthy in the United States as well.


Oh but please don’t stop there it gets better …

With the sole exception of cancer, there exists a sharp negative gradient across both education and income groups in both countries … As a result, country differences are larger and tend to be more statistically different at the bottom of the social hierarchy than at the top. Level differences between countries are sufficiently large that individuals in the top of the education and income strata in the United States have comparable rates of diabetes and heart disease as those in the bottom of the income and education strata in England."

There’s lot more very useful ammunition for the discerning firepup where that came from …

Source: Disease and Disadvantage in the United States and in England [PDF] published 2006 The Journal of the American Medical Association.

The thing that leaps out from the pages of the study isn’t just that the desperately underfunded and understaffed NHS outperforms the American health sector on most health outcomes although that is made eminently clear. No, what leaps from the pages is the way in which the American system betrays the overwhelming majority of the American population in the interests of making profits. The ever increasingly bizarre campaign to persuade Americans to keep their current rates of death, misery, and despair is being waged by a pack of parasites interested in one thing and one thing only. Money.

A health system that puts profit before patients as the current private enterprise system in the US does is not in fact a health system — it’s economic sociopathy gone berserk.


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