Volume 6  Number 4  May 31, 2009
Second Opinions

Health Care 2029

The following is abstracted from The New York Review of Books, Oct. 2029

HealthaNomics by Elizabeth Akilah Glotz
University of Hawaii Press, 2029
$315

Thanks to the amalgamation of Government, private health insurers, the Blues, the American Hospital Association, and the pharmaceutical industry under the Health Reform Act of 2023, the future of health care for U.S. citizens has never looked more auspicious and affordable. The advances we are realizing today would been impossible without the previous passage in 2020 of the AIGovMedCare Act establishing the State PharmInsurance Hospital Agency and the latest Medicare-Medigap corporations as a branch of the Treasury.

Instead of the $15,000 annual cost per person in 2017 and 80 million uninsured, the health outlook for the average U.S. citizen has exceeded all expectations. The present total cost for U.S. health has leveled off at $5.6 trillion a year, reasonably close to the $4.4 trillion first predicted for 2018 back in 2009 (sic!). No citizen is denied the all-encompassing preventive and general medical and dental care she requires. This includes, among other benefits, psychiatric/pharmacotherapy for all adult and childhood behavioral and antisocial disorders, on-demand plastic surgery for facial disfigurement due to age and genetics, optional bariatric surgery for all patients with body mass index exceeding 33, mandated statins for all citizens with total cholesterol over 175 mg/dl, and compulsory antihypertensives for anyone with a blood pressure exceeding 130/82. The anti-sodium and transfat laws, thanks to modern nutritional advances, have been expanded to include strict governmental supervision of grocery stores and supermarkets, and the closing of most McDonalds, Burger Kings, Pizza Huts, Kentucky Fried Chickens, and other fast food chains. Moreover, close regulation of public restaurants has become mandatory with six monthly reviews of published menus for acceptance of nutritional standards within Federal guidelines of "Healthy Food."

The medical profession remains a recurring vexation, since doctors continue to protest across-the-board pay cuts for their professional services. On the bright side, though, demands for admission to medical schools have not declined. The latest national doctors' strike was quickly brought under control when 200,000 foreign physicians were brought in from India, Great Britain, and the EU and given semi-permanent residency status by Immigration. Officials of the AMA and other professional organizations were placed under preventive detention at the newly re-opened Guantanamo prison.

The author of this fascinating academic history of U.S. Healthcare is a highly qualified PhD in Health Futures from the University of Alaska, formerly an Associate Director of Health Economics under Governor Palin, and subsequently Co-Director of U.S. Health and Human Services. She has not avoided discussion of other thorny problems brought about by the rapidly changing face of health and economic policy. For example, Dr. Glotz has forcefully attacked public protests over increasing replacement of privately owned homes and real estate by public housing, mandated by the Federal Re-Housing Developments Act of 2015. She points out that this legislation, more so than the Federal Bank Takeover Act of 2012, was the ultimate solution to the mortgage crisis of 2007-2010. At the same time she stresses that the costs of chronic care of the aged and its associated increase in dementia, has been more than offset by a decline in U.S. longevity, creating budget savings of more than $600 billion per year.

While the U.S. has suffered a decline in industrial production, and unemployment remains above 12%, Glotz points out that we retain our superb level of health and preventive care comparing favorably to that of other advanced countries. Most important, every needy citizen has ready access to food stamps and Federal clothing allowances. Although we have suffered a loss of GDP, we are still fifth in the world, behind China, India, Japan, and the State of California.

I can highly recommend this breathtaking history of health and economic advances achieved by this country in a mere 20 years.

Martin F. Sturman, MD, FACP

Copyright 2009, Mathemedics, Inc.

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