The Patient Needs Care, Not Rhetoric

This is the first anniversary of the passage of the Patient Protection and  Affordable Care Act, derisively named by some as “Obamacare.” It is an attempt, not perfect of course, to fix a broken health care delivery system in the United States.

The fact that it is broken is shown by findings released this week by the Virginia Department of Public Health. Overall, according to American Health Rankings, Virginia ranks as the 22nd healthiest state. Not surprisingly, the healthiest areas of Virginia appear mostly in more affluent Northern Virginia.

We are regularly ranked as #1 or #2 as a place to do business–and there is much chest-thumping about that by political and business leaders. The self-congratulatory thumping about being #22 for health appears to be more muted.

Another interesting fact, according to a story in the Richmond Times-Dispatch: the United States spends more per person on health care than many other developed nations but falls below many on health indicators, including life span. Health-care spending per person in the U.S. was $7,538 in 2008, compared with $4,627 in Switzerland, $4,079 in Canada, $3,696 in France and $3,129 in the United Kingdom. Yet average life expectancy in the United States, 77.9 years, is lower than in Canada, 81.38 years; the United Kingdom, 80.05 years; and other nations.

I know it is fashionable for many to proclaim that parts of the year-old law are invasions of personal rights and/or states rights. Personally, I would be more persuaded by their arguments if they had serious proposals to fix a broken health care delivery system.

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