Opinion: Doctor of Palm Beach: Fixing the healthcare system

Dr. Michael Dennis

Despite being a top spender on health care, the United States has an average life expectancy nearly 10 years lower than many other countries, including Japan, Norway and Switzerland.

Recent studies indicate that, compared to other public health systems around the world, the United States ranks very low – without universal health coverage, equitable access to medical services, reducing administrative inefficiencies and promoting protection options social. Tragically, research shows that black and Latino life expectancy losses are three times greater than those of other ethnicities. The flaws in our health care system, policies and public behavior must be corrected.

A very troubling factor is that a profit-driven health care system has focused primarily on drug discovery and disease treatment rather than prevention. Chronic diseases such as cardiovascular dysfunction and cancer are the most common and costly health problems, but they are largely preventable.

As mentioned above, public behavior is a major contributor to these diseases. An estimated 60% of premature deaths can be attributed to a population in which smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, poor diet and obesity are endemic. And the massive failure to participate fully and cooperatively in preventive actions such as vaccinations and boosters is an embarrassing fact. It’s been a very real disappointment in the overall preparedness against the spread of COVID, for example.

Cars line up as people line up to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on March 22, 2021, at the South Florida Fairgrounds.

When it comes to universal health care in America, there is evidence that most people would welcome its introduction. But if one looks at the history of efforts to initiate it, every time it is offered, it is canceled due to intense lobbying by the pharmaceutical insurance industries and untraceable backroom deals. The people of this country would greatly benefit from a political system that is inclusive and promotes win-win policies without an atmosphere of internal rancor and hostility.

And, of course, the other factor in life expectancy besides quantity is quality. An environment of improved comfort in areas such as economic security, personal security, and freedom of belief for all would greatly stimulate a compassionate desire for more years to enjoy family, friends, and the pleasures of life.

Wishing you good health and happiness.

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