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Making America Healthy Again 3-Pack

Program #BEZ009-BEZS007-BEZS006.

First program: Making America Healthy Again

The U.S. pays more for health care than any other country yet has shamefully poor results. People are paying through the nose for their hospital stays, surgeries and prescription drugs. An MRI in the U.S. costs five times what it costs in Australia. Instead of quality affordable health care we are building absurdly expensive F-35s, submarines and aircraft carriers. And there is a cool $ trillion for nuclear weapons. Our spending priorities are upside down. Every other industrialized country has universal health care. Since the 1970s surveys have shown most people in the U.S. want a single-payer, universal health care program. But Washington says: That’s off the table. So even though the public wants it, our so-called representatives, except for Bernie Sanders and a few others, are not considering it. Maybe we should look to Slovenia for inspiration.

Second program: Toward a Healthy Society

It's no secret. The poor get the short end of the stick in multiple ways. They live shorter lives and suffer from almost every social problem from lack of decent housing to lousy food to no healthcare to being isolated and reviled. Poverty results in toxic levels of stress. Among the countries in the world, the U.S. ranks in the "top" five in measurable stress, according to an ongoing Gallup survey. Consumerism and the so-called good life are elevated to an almost idyllic plain. But selfish me tooism lead a lot of people to an emotional dead end. It's time to move beyond vacuous slogans such as Looking Out for Number One. Cooperation and collaboration are salubrious. Why does it make good medical as well as moral sense to have a healthy society?

Third program: Dying Younger Than We Should

Over and over U.S. citizens are told," We have the best health care system in the world." That would be great if it were true but the facts, baldly stated, don't support the claim. Not only is it far and away the most expensive system, the U.S. spends half the world's health bill, it fails to produce outstanding outcomes. For example, in one basic index, all of us in this country die younger than we should. A really healthy society does not have the radical disparities in wealth and income the U.S., one hesitates to use the word, "enjoys." One in seven Americans are officially in poverty, the highest levels in decades. Evidence demonstrates that people in more egalitarian societies have healthier and happier lives.

Speaker(s):

Stephen Bezruchka

Stephen Bezruchka is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington. He worked for many years as an emergency physician in Seattle. His particular areas of research are population health and societal hierarchy. He has spent over 10 years in Nepal working in various health programs, and teaching in remote regions. He is author of numerous articles and essays. He is a contributor to Sickness and Wealth, a book on the effects of global corporatization on health.

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