I read the PG articles on health care featuring U.S. Rep. Jason Altmire and heard his statement on National Public Radio that "we have the best health care in all the world." Then why do the statistics on the condition of our health tell a different story?
I am a registered dietitian and diabetes educator with 30 years' experience. I, like many health-care providers, depend on health insurance to cover my services so that individuals can receive the education they need to manage their health issues. Over the years, it has been increasingly difficult to receive reimbursement for my services from health insurance companies.
The stories I hear from my patients, who are increasingly paying more for health services, are frightening. Individuals with diabetes are making decisions on which medications they can afford each month, and recently two of my patients decided not to buy their insulin. This resulted in dangerously high blood sugars and one patient was admitted to the hospital.
I believe the debate over health care has made people fearful of losing an important right, that is, to receive medical care when ill. The United States does have the best and latest medical technology for diagnosing and treating many diseases. However, the delivery of routine and preventive medical care in our current for-profit environment is broken. Many excellent doctors and health educators have left the medical field because they could no longer practice quality care in the current system.
Diseases are at epidemic levels in our country. Our children will be the first generation who will not live as long as their parents because they are developing chronic illnesses in their teens and young adulthood at an alarming rate. According to The World Health Organization, the United States is ranked 37th for health systems. If we have the best health care, shouldn't we be ranked first?