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The United States once was not just the richest country on Earth, but also one of the healthiest. Unadulterated greed is making tens of millions of Americans sick.

Americans probably just don't know how poorly they are doing relative to many other advanced countries. Longevity in the USA is about the same as in Cuba. Infant mortality rates in the USA are twice what they are in Western Europe. Seven times as many unmarried, teenage girls get pregnant in the United States as in France. Single jails house more prisoners in the United States than all the jails in most European countries, and nearly one out of every 100 Americans is currently behind bars. Over half of all African-American men are either in jail or on probation, or otherwise limited by their criminal histories.

Whiz-Bang Technology Isn't Enough

The natural result of inequality is illness. Poor people get sicker than rich people. The answer would seem to be figuring out a way everyone has access to seeing a doctor, but Americans have resisted that idea. Even after the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act, many poor Americans still have to seek their health care at emergency rooms.

Under federal law, no emergency room can turn away patients. They can make patients wait for hours (waits of 18 hours are not unusual). They can make patients very uncomfortable. They can limit the doctor's visit to a minute or less. However, if you are sick, and you show up in an emergency room, you will get the minimum treatment you need at that very moment.

Let's say you are an American diabetic who uses insulin, which costs $1000 to $3000 a month for the modern, more effective brands, you have high blood pressure, you have a family history of heart disease, and you don't have money or insurance. You run out of insulin and your blood sugar levels climb to 400 mg/dl (22 mmol/L). You go to the ER.

The emergency room will take your medical history, measure your blood sugar levels, and give you just enough insulin to get your blood sugar levels back to normal. However, they won't give you the insulin or blood pressure medications you cannot afford, and they probably won't even give you the prescriptions you need so you can buy them with your own money.

You will get a bill for $5,000 to $10,000 for that single visit. If you don't pay it, the hospital will tap into a government fund that pays for emergency care, but not for preventive care.

If you are just as sick 24 hours later because you don't have insulin, they will take you back. There are Americans who have had to go to emergency rooms weekly after developing kidney disease, heart disease, or diabetes, costing the system hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars, when a fair system could be treating them for a few thousand dollars. However, Americans don't want to dole out those small amounts. It would be coddling the poor.

The disability system is even worse.

What Is The Solution For American Healthcare?

"From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs" isn't ever going to be an American campaign slogan (at least not of any party that gets even one percent of the vote). Americans probably will only reform their system when they realize it costs less to keep people healthy than it does to respond to emergencies when they are sick. From all the reports about Americans and Obamacare, unfortunately, this realization is not taking place very quickly.

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