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U.S. health system is inferior

It is simplistic for the Deseret Morning News to assert that the U.S. health system is "superior" because "seldom do people here have to hear that they can't be helped because it wouldn't be cost-effective to society as a whole."

The Institute of Medicine published a report in 2002 documenting more than 18,000 deaths per year (a conservative estimate) due to lack of health-care financing. This epidemic of uninsurance-driven death exists in the U.S. health system alone among all First World countries.

The News incorrectly insists that the U.S. health system is superior because it is "built on a free-market model" rather than the "myth of socialized medicine." Here are the facts: (a) 60 percent of the $2 trillion to be spent on health care this year are tax dollars; (b) the per-capita tax burden for health care in the United States is higher than taxes spent on health care in any other country; (c) after paying the world's highest taxes for health care, the working poor are denied financial support for needed health-care services.

The American health-care system leads the world in bureaucracy and windfall profits. We have the most wasteful and expensive health system, not a superior, fair or market-driven system.

Joseph Q. Jarvis

MD MSPH president Utah Alliance for Health Policy Solutions