What Ails the United States Beyond Health Insurance Reform

March 25, 2017 | By | 2 Replies More

According to this article from the conservative leaning National Review, the current debate needs to be much broader than health insurance. Who could possibly disagree with that? The article includes a stunning graph tracking middle-age mortality, and a even more stunning video-mapping of the increasing obesity across the US. Here’s a haunting quote by the author, David French:

As Congress debated Obamacare repeal, I had lunch with a local critical-care doctor who seemed oddly indifferent to the outcome. His is a world dominated by addiction. “If it weren’t for addicts,” he says, “I wouldn’t have a job.” The intensive-care unit is overrun with people addicted to drugs, to alcohol, to food, and to tobacco. Insurance matters to the economics of the hospital, but it doesn’t matter so much to the quality of its patients’ immediate care or to their ultimate health outcome. They’re killing themselves, and the best health care and the most luxurious “Cadillac” health plans won’t stop their slide into oblivion.

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Category: Food, Health, Health Care Reform

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. grumpypilgrim says:

    We should remember that those charts might be misleading, as we might expect from the very biased National Review. For example, the mortality chart ends at 2015, which is before most people joined Obamacare. That is significant, because Obamacare requires insurance carriers to include meaningful coverage for mental health and addiction treatment, so past rates of suicide for those conditions are unlikely to be predictive of future trends. For the same reason, such data should not be considered a compelling argument against Obamacare. To the contrary, Obamacare is about the only reason to believe the slope of those trend lines will drop. That said, an additional fact is that physicians have become more aware of the addiction problem that stems from their over-prescribing opiods, so many are reducing their use of that treatment. Also, while the obesity data is disturbing, Obamacare requires carriers to focus on prevention and not just treatment, so they are already creating programs and incentives to reduce preventable chronic problems like obesity. For all of these reasons, health data over the next five or ten years will be a more important basis upon which to assess U.S. healthcare and Obamacare.

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