Reviews | America’s healthcare industry is killing people

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Would the reduction in overheads not be a clearly positive result?

Ah, but here’s where the shoe pinch: All this overspending creates a lot of jobs – and moving towards a more efficient and equitable health care system will inevitably mean shedding a lot of administrative jobs. A study suggests that about 1.8 million jobs would be rendered useless if America adopted a public system of financing health care.

So what if some of these jobs involve debt collection, denial of claims, aggressive legal action, or are otherwise punitive, cruel, or just morally indefensible in a company that can clearly afford to provide high quality health care for everyone? Jobs are jobs, guys, like Joe Biden would say.

Indeed, this is exactly what Biden’s presidential campaign says about Medicare for all the plans Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are proposing: they will “not only cost 160 million Americans to cover them.” private health care and impose tax hikes on the middle class, but it would also kill nearly two million jobs, ”a Biden campaign official recently warned.

Note the word “kill” in the statement. This word might better describe not what might happen to Medicare jobs for everyone, but what the health care industry is doing to many Americans today.

Last week, the medical journal JAMA published an in-depth study examining the cause of a remarkably grim statistic on our national well-being. From 1959 to 2010, life expectancy in the United States and other wealthy countries around the world increased. Then, in 2014, American life expectancy began to decline, while it continued to increase elsewhere.

What caused America’s decline? Researchers have identified a number of potential factors, including smoking, obesity and psychological stress, but two of the main causes may be directly related to the peculiarities and dysfunctions of American healthcare.

The first is the opioid epidemic, the increase in which can be attributed to the release in 1996 of the prescription pain medication OxyContin. In the public narrative, much of the responsibility for the outbreak has been blamed on the Sackler family, whose company, Purdue Pharma, created OxyContin and lobbied for its widespread use. But research has shown that the Sacklers exploited outlier incentives in American healthcare.


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