El enfermo sistema de salud de Estados Unidos

Como caso único entre las naciones industrializadas, Estados Unidos carece de un sistema nacional de seguro médico. Cuarenta millones de estadounidenses carecen de cualquier forma de seguro médico; muchos más se enfrentan a la perspectiva de perder los seguros vinculados a sus empleos a causa de los despidos en las compañías. Mientras tanto, el gasto de EEUU en servicios de salud llega a los $4.600 per cápita, más del doble del promedio de otros países industrializados. El gasto en servicios de salud de EEUU es de un 14% del PIB, el más alto del mundo, euqivalente a un gran total de $1,3 billones, y sigue creciendo.

Según la Organización para la Cooperación y el Desarrollo Económico (OCDE), a pesar de este gasto colosal Estados Unidos se sitúa atrás de Japón y varios países europeos en varios parámetros estándar de salubridad: mortalidad infantil, expectativa de vida al nacer y muertes que se podrían haber prevenido mediante servicios médicos adecuados. Estados Unidos gasta más y obtiene menos, y todo parece indicar que la perversa economía del seguro de salud estadounidense permanecerá más o menos sin cambio indefinidamente.

La razón es que los perdedores en este sistema tienden a ser pobres, políticamente desorganizados y poco articulados, mientras sus conciudadanos más afortunados tienen un seguro que cubre los costos de los tratamientos y disfrutan de los beneficios de la excelencia de alta tecnología que ha dado renombre a la medicina estadounidense.

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