Medical care and medical insurance in the U.S. are government-sponsored rackets. From Mark Oshinskie at brownstone.org:
In college, I took a Latin American Politics and Development class. When discussing Latin American medical care, Professor Eldon Kenworthy presented a deeply countercultural idea. Echoing a journal article by the scholar, Robert Ayres, Kenworthy maintained that building hospitals there costs lives. If, instead of erecting, equipping and staffing gleaming medical centers, this same money and human effort were devoted to providing clean water, good food and sanitation, the public health yield would be much greater.
United States medical history bears out Ayres’s paradox. The biggest increases in US life expectancy occurred early in the Twentieth Century, when people had increasing access to calories and protein, better water and sanitation. Lives lengthened sharply decades before vaccines, antibiotics or nearly any drugs were available, and a century before hospitals merged into corporate Systems.
Incremental American life span increases during the past fifty years reflect far less smoking, safer cars and jobs, cleaner air and less lethal wars more than they reflect medical advances. Books like Ivan Illich’s Medical Nemesis and Daniel Callahan’s Taming the Beloved Beast echo Ayres’s critique. But PBS, CNN, B & N, the NYT, et al. censor such views.
The American medical landscape has changed radically in the forty years since I learned of Ayres’ observation. America spends three times as much, as a percentage of GDP, on medical treatments as it did in the 1960s.
By 2020, America devoted 18% of its GDP to medicine. (By comparison, about 5% goes to the military). Adding the mega-costs of mass testing and vaccines etc., medical expenditures might now approach 20%. Although the US spends more than twice per capita what any other nation spends on medical care, American ranks 46th in life expectancy. US life expectancy has flatlined, despite growing medical spending and broadened medical access via the vaunted Affordable Care Act.