Expensive Healthcare Doesn't Make Us Healthier
"The $2.6 trillion the United States is spending on health care is too much, and we can reduce it without rationing or sacrificing quality," says Ezekiel Emanuel, M.D.
What's the Latest Development?
The United States spends more on health care than any other industrialized country, a lot more. But this spending doesn't translate into longer life expectancy, less disability or better quality of life, says Ezekiel Emanuel, M.D. and bioethicist at the National Institutes of Health. The $2.6 trillion spent annually on healthcare in the U.S. is roughly equal to the G.D.P of France. And while the population of the U.S. is about a quarter of China's, our spending on healthcare is equivalent to about half of its G.D.P.
What's the Big Idea?
Critics argue that higher U.S. healthcare spending is offset by higher prescription drug prices and higher salaries for doctors, but even adjusting for these, the U.S. spends 15 percent more than the next-highest spending country, Norway, and a quarter more than systems in France and Germany. While the quality of some American institutions is very high, such as academic research centers, that quality is uneven. "The truth is, the United States is not getting 20 or 30 percent better health care or results than other countries," says Dr. Emanuel.
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The 21st century is experiencing an Asianization of politics, business, and culture.
- Our theories about the world, even about history or the geopolitics of the present, tend to be shaped by Anglo perspectives of the Western industrial democracies, particularly those in the United States and the United Kingdom.
- The West, however, is not united. Canada, for instance, acts in many ways that are not in line with American or British policies, particularly in regard to populism. Even if it were united, though, it would not represent most of the world's population.
- European ideas, such as parliamentary democracy and civil service, spread across the world in the 19th century. In the 20th century, American values such as entrepreneurialism went global. In the 21st century, however, what we're seeing now is an Asianization — an Asian confidence that they can determine their own political systems, their own models, and adapt to their own circumstances.
Research has shown that men today have less testosterone than they used to. What's happening?
- Several studies have confirmed that testosterone counts in men are lower than what they used to be just a few decades ago.
- While most men still have perfectly healthy testosterone levels, its reduction puts men at risk for many negative health outcomes.
- The cause of this drop in testosterone isn't entirely clear, but evidence suggests that it is a multifaceted result of modern, industrialized life.
Can sensitive coral reefs survive another human generation?
- Coral reefs may not be able to survive another human decade because of the environmental stress we have placed on them, says author David Wallace-Wells. He posits that without meaningful changes to policies, the trend of them dying out, even in light of recent advances, will continue.
- The World Wildlife Fund says that 60 percent of all vertebrate mammals have died since just 1970. On top of this, recent studies suggest that insect populations may have fallen by as much as 75 percent over the last few decades.
- If it were not for our oceans, the planet would probably be already several degrees warmer than it is today due to the emissions we've expelled into the atmosphere.
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