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"Soft drink consumption in children poses a significant risk factor for
impaired calcification of growing bones."
"Of the fifty-seven children who had low blood calcium levels, thirty-eight
(66.7 percent) drank more than four bottles (12 to 16 ounces per bottle) of
soft drinks per week, but only forty-eight (28 percent) of the 171 children
with normal serum calcium levels consumed as much soft drink S These results
more than support the contention that soft drink consumption leads to lower
calcium levels in children. This situation that ultimately leads to poor
bone mineralization, which explains the greater risk of broken bones in
children who consume soft drinks."
It is estimated that directly or indirectly, tobacco causes more than 400,000 deaths in the U.S. annually, a figure that represents nearly 20 percent of all U.S. deaths. These deaths have been attributed to a number of conditions defined as tobacco-related, including heart disease (115,000 deaths), cancer (136,000), chronic pulmonary disease (60,000), and stroke (27,000). According to a study published by the British medical journal Lancet, the rate of tobacco-related mortality throughout the entire developed world also averages about 20 percent of all deaths.
To "fix" healthcare, i think we should tie cost to Medicare. I would rather see Medicare go away, but since it is there we can try to fix it and use it to drive private industry. But if you don't get the price schedules under control, nothing will make it better and the middle and lower classes will still feel the squeeze.
A simple solution would be to:
1. Require all doctors to accept Medicare patients as a condition of practicing medicine in the US.
2. Set prices in Medicare to pay a reasonable price. I am not talking sweetheart deals, and i am not meaning to screw the doctors. I am talking about office visits for Family Medicine costing around 80 bucks for the 15 minutes of pseudo attention. One you set the payment schedule in Medicare, it becomes the standard for the industry and will allow the insurance companies to calibrate to this schedule.
3. Provide cash incentives to recipients for keeping their health costs down. For example, an otherwise healthy 70 year old on Medicare that presents with complaints of gout pain does not need a Pulminary Function Test. There is no reason that the patient can't be expected to take an active role and inform themselves on their healthcare options.
Once you can apply some simple controls to how Medicare pays out, and tie it into an official standard of payment, you can address various forms of fraud (possibly by employing the "cash bonus" system to patients who can identify fraudulent activity? Once again, patients should be expected to be active in their healthcare, especially when it is free on the government dime).
If fraud can be gotten under some control, then we can look towards finding a way to provide health care to everyone. Remember, we already do it via emergency rooms and free clinics. If we can trim enough fat in the system, we might just be able to find a way to afford it without huge cost burdens being placed on business and citizen alike.