In the speeches from the senate floor, our junior senator made the following statement today regarding Obamacare:
“This is just one example of what happens in this country when people in Washington take on the arrogant view that they know how to fix the health care system — one of the most massive, complex, marvelous systems the world has ever known,” Sessions said on the Senate floor.
Don’t know that complex, marvelous, expensive, ineffective is better than simple yet effective but it is what it is (or at least was until the President tried to dismantle it). Are we ignoring the real culprit?
Then the senator took issue with the suggestion that the medical system should share the blame for the fact that Americans are not exactly the healthiest people in the world.
“That is one of the most horrible things I’ve ever heard, really, around here,” Sessions said. “So we’ve got people that die sooner than some other countries. Well, we have a lot of things. We have more obesity, more smoking, less people taking care of themselves sometimes,” he continued, going on to cite high murder rates, car crash deaths and generally unhealthy lifestyles.
“That doesn’t mean our health care is not the best in the world. All of us have seen that,” he said.
As I have written before (full post found here), the blaming the patient is easy, but it isn’t correct:
Investigators found that between 1975 and 2005, American health care spending increased at a much greater pace than the other countries and Americans were more likely to die prematurely than the citizens of the other countries. This we already knew. What is news is the magnitude of the difference and the aspects of American society that do and do not contribute to the difference.
Population Diversity – As opposed to the deeply held believe that we have to spend so much on health care because of our sickly poor population, it turns out that our diversity does not contribute to our poor health standing.
Smoking Status – Americans actually smoke less than the residents of the comparison nations so it turns out that smoking status does not contribute to our poor health standing.
Obesity – Americans are more overweight than the residents of the other countries. America was proportionally as overweight when compared to the other countries in 1975 as it is today. If it is obesity that is the cause of our excessive health care spending, it should have increased proportionally (not logarithmically) over the past 20 years. Obesity is not the cause of our excessive health care cost.
Traffic Accidents and Homicides – Much was made of the perceived excessive costs of violence in American society during the recent health care debate, in particular among the underclass. The contribution of violence has in fact been stable over the past 20 years (and is relatively low) so these are not the cause of our excessive health care costs.
Maybe his staff will read this and the senator will revise his speech using the corrected information.