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Mediocre care is expensive

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

To the Editor:

Anyone who says we have the best health care in the world can only be referring to the business side of things, as it represents greater than one-sixth of our economy as a function of gross domestic product.

The next-closest nation, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, is the Netherlands, spending an eighth of its GDP on health care. To put it into perspective, that difference would fund our Defense Department.

According to the World Health Organization, the Netherlands ranks in the ninth percentile, while the U.S. ranks in the 17th percentile with regard to longevity. Simply put, they outlive us by two years.

A study by the Commonwealth Fund found that only 43 percent of American adults could get a same- or next-day appointment to see a doctor, compared with 80 percent in the Netherlands. The U.S. also ranks well below the OECD average in per capita availability of hospital beds, doctors and doctor consultations.

However, the U.S. does lead the world in health-care spending, which is nearly double the OECD GDP average of less than one-tenth. One has to ask, why is health care in this country so expensive with mediocre results when compared with other developed nations, and where does the money go?

Louis F. Rabe

Crystal Lake

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