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Who's sicker: Older Americans or English?
November 4th, 2010
03:19 PM ET

Who's sicker: Older Americans or English?

If you're 65 or older, you're more likely to be healthier in England than in America. The catch: in the United States, you're more likely to live longer, a new study finds.

Chronic diseases are more common in Americans than English aged 55 to 64, a study in the journal Demography found, and in this age group American and English have about the same death rate. At the same time, Americans 65 and older don't die as fast as the same age group in England, the study authors found.

Why would this be? It seems that if you live into your 70s, the American medical system takes care of you better, said study co-author James Smith of the RAND Corporation.

"In the United States, we have very aggressive medical care and we spend a ton of money on it," he said. "It is very aggressive and we get something out of it: longer lives."

Essentially, says Smith, Americans are "compensating for bad habits." Americans would be better off with eating a healthier diet, exercising more, not smoking, drinking only moderately, and reducing the stress in their lives.

Generally, people in England seem to receive diagnoses of their conditions later in the course of the disease than in the United States, study authors said. Also, chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer result in higher mortality in England than in the United States.

Comparing the United States with England, Smith pointed to the heavier use of screenings such as prostate cancer tests in the United States., and the more frequent and immediate use of surgery when possible cancers are discovered.

Americans in their 70s are also more likely to have conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, heart attack, and cancer than elderly English, the study found. The prevalence of cancer among the 70-somethings surveyed was more than twice as high in the United States, and diabetes rates were nearly twice as high among Americans, too. Older Americans additionally have a higher risk of the onset of a new disease than older English.

Data came from large surveys of people in the United States and England.

The study also looked at the question of whether wealth affects health among survey participants. Smith and colleagues found actually that poor health leads to less wealth, not the other way around.

This was true in both the United States and England. For the United States, researchers looked at 1992 to 2002, a period that saw growing prosperity in the stock market and housing prices. It turns out that the likelihood of death did not depend on changes in wealth during this time.


soundoff (216 Responses)
  1. Howell Wong

    I lived near London for 10 years in the nineties when I was in my sixties. I notice that there were a lot of older folks than in the USA. I also thought that were more visible because they were walking about much more than the older Americans, who usually are hidden behind the wheels of their car (cars and fuel are cheaper in the USA). I think exercise keeps the English seniors healthier up to a certain age when exercise plays a less important role than medical care. So at an older age, the Americans begin to catch up and overtake their counterparts perhaps by the type of medical care given.

    November 4, 2010 at 19:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. C-man

    How the hell are they healthier? They eat actual SHIT for every meal, smoke two packs a day, and drink a pint every two hours! WTF!

    November 4, 2010 at 19:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Darkmatter666

    Yes, they are. But this is because healthcare in the UK is so bad that the elderly die sooner than those in the US, so the statistics are skewed. Nice attempt to push socialized health care. Please try again...

    November 4, 2010 at 19:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. mary

    It's the tea...~!!

    November 4, 2010 at 19:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Jackob

    To answer the question, I think English died with the advent of texting.

    November 4, 2010 at 19:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DACOOLE

      I couldn't have said it better. ; )

      November 4, 2010 at 20:16 | Report abuse |
  6. Susan Evans

    PLEASE READ THIS! https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2102rank.html THE FIGURES QUOTED IN THIS ARTICLE ARE IN DIRECT CONTRAST WITH THE CIA 2010 FIGURES, IN THIS LINK. ACCORDING TO THE CIA FIGURES THE UK IS 28th IN THE WORLD FOR LONGEVITY AT 79.92 YEARS WHILE THE US IS 49th AT 78.24 YEARS EXPECTANCY. PLEASE CHECK THE FIGURES YOURSELF.

    November 4, 2010 at 20:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. DACOOLE

    What a funky title for the article. Think about it and laugh a little.

    November 4, 2010 at 20:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Evan

    With bangers and mash on the table, there is no way the English are less healthy than the Americans.

    November 4, 2010 at 20:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • lsKIWI

      lived there for a decade – never once had bangers and mash. I think a lot of people here might be surprised at the quality of food in England – not at the pub at the end of the road, or at the fish and Chip shop, but at proper restaurants. They certainly have more Michelin-starred chefs than in the US.

      But, like the teeth debate, this is another streotype that the Americans like to throw at the British.

      November 4, 2010 at 20:46 | Report abuse |
  9. MacFeagle

    Here's another interesting webtool: http://www.gapminder.org/
    Click on the "GapmInder World" tab and you can correlate Life Expectancy with a host of socio-economic indicators for most of the countries of the world.
    It shows for example that life expectancy is highly correlated with Income Per Person (no surprise) but also that the US is below the curve i.e. it gets a poorer return than the median country considering the wealth of their citizens. Japan, by way of contrast is above the curve and gets a better outcome than you would predict.

    November 4, 2010 at 20:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Kay Douglas

    I love England so much – you've got to love a place that would take Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow off our hands. Now if you can just get Katy Perry to move there, that would be great.

    November 4, 2010 at 20:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. zoomzom

    That is right, in US they care more for the people in 70's because the most time and make the most visit to the medical facility plust they are on givernment paid health care (Medicare etc) so there is real incentive for the the medical industry to keep the old man alive to keep getting checks from the government and keeping themselves in business even if that means keeping the old man on venitialator in vegetative state for 10 years. But if you are on no insurance or without job you are out of luck. But in Britan they have healthcare for all regardless of age or employment status so they live a shorter but more fuller satisfied life rathar than an artificially prolonged life that keeps the doctor in business longer.

    November 4, 2010 at 20:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Alex

    I think you all forget that medicare is essentially socialized medicine. The difference is that it is funded much better than England's system. So when we say adults 65 and older live longer because of an aggressive health care industry it is because it is paid for by the federal government and it is well funded. Look this is an easy one, medicare works, it is socialized, well funded by our taxes and the government controls it.

    November 4, 2010 at 21:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Mike E

    If I can add something. I lived (born) in the UK (London) for 40 years. I've lived in the USA 32 years. The National Health Service came into being when I was 8 years old in the UK. Here's the difference. US doctors are over-paid and many think they are special princes who should be paid like princes. Not all of them but the majority. How do I know that? Becaudse my wife is a medical biller and she thinks the majority of doctors are the greediest she has ever come across.

    Then there is the US health system itself which is run by corporations who are in business not because "We Care" but because they want to maker money. As much as they can. I forget the exact statistics but (for instance) gall bladders are removed in the USA vs. the UK at a ratio of 8 to 1. Reason? Gall bladders are not really needed after a certain age and a US doctor collects a nice fat fee for whipping out a pretty routine gall bladder.

    That's the big difference. In the USA medicine is a business which rewards those who can get the best price for their product. In the UK, doctors can still make a very nice living (underline nice) buy it's gard for them to exploit. Also, if you don't like the National Health Service, you can buy health insurance (much, much cheaper in the UK) and go see a private non-NHS doctor.

    As for care. In 1978, I found I had cancer of the kidney. I was in the operating room with 72 hours, a cancerous kidney removed and back at work in 2 months with terrific aftercare. Cost: "0". Drugs for seniors are free (and children) and, again, the UK government watches the drug companies closely should they try to exploit a situation. Not so in the USA where politcians (via lobbyists) are paid off by the drug companies, which is why the US government (Bush's government) made sure the drug companies could steal and cheat by not having Schedule D run by government. Example: I suffer from asthma on the odd occasion. I used to have an inhaler which became generic and the price dropped from $70 non-generic to $7 generic. Through lobbyists and paying off the US politicians, the drug company were able to get rid of the generic version and go back to charging $70. How? The generic version contained CFC propellent which they said added to air pollution so the government banned CFC's in products such as paint cans, etc. Jeez! How much CFC can a tiny inhaler produce?! So the cost went back up to $70. So, they removed the CFC and put in compressed air. Good scam, huh? Not a word from the politicians of course but the drug makers and insurance corporations made out like bandits.

    I happen to be married to an American but, through pointing things out to her, she now agrees that most Americans are brainwashed into thinking if it's not organized and run by America, it's (whatever it is including a health service) inferior. So, to clear things up, a government run health service like the one in europe, will NEVER come into being here in the USA because the "powers-to-be" have the ability (via waving the flag and controlling the media) to brainwash Mr. Joe America into thinking if "It ain't born in the USA, it ain't as good."

    Bottom line: Wrong!

    November 4, 2010 at 21:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • musings

      Thanks for great insights – we really are brainwashed about so many things.

      November 4, 2010 at 23:36 | Report abuse |
  14. Anon E Moose

    More claptrap from the Liberal MSM media; must be angling for more
    of that Big Govt interference in our private lives!

    I'll give you my cold and dee-lishush, super-sized Slurpee when you pry it from my cold, dead, hands

    November 4, 2010 at 21:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Alert Citizen

    What do you expect after eating genetically modified food being a citizen of the world's richest and most industrialized nation?

    November 4, 2010 at 22:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Brian

    You know what they say about figures, this "study" is from the Rand Corporation.

    November 4, 2010 at 22:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Chopswell

    They must have been comparing the overall health of the elder Americans around the Gulf. Maybe we dump 200 million gallons of oil off Britain and then do this survey again...

    November 4, 2010 at 22:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Native American

    And they are crazier too... I wish they all went back to where they came from.

    November 4, 2010 at 22:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Woody

    I am in my fifties. I have been with my same insurance company off and on for over thirty years. I have had only two kidney stones and nothing major. Because of a car accident that was not my fault my insurance company canceled my policy. The new insurance I have is double in price from what I had. I was rear ended by another motorist at almost 50 mph I was told. I have a neck injury that will at some point need surgery. So far my out of pocket cost has exceeded twenty five grand. I can hardly work due to my injuries. I was paying three hendred per month . I am now paying six hundred a month for insurance and can hardly get out of bed some days. The Republicans want to take away your right to insurance if you are injured in a car accident. This is crazy that one day you can be perfectly fine and someone rear ends you and insurance companies can drop you as fast as it happens. I only hope it will not happen to any of you. It is about to bankrupt me and I have worked full time since I was twelve years old. All because I was injured in a car accident. It can happen to you just as fast as you get into your car.

    November 4, 2010 at 22:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Woody

    My insurance company that canceled me has a cross and shield with the color blue.

    November 4, 2010 at 22:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lil

      That same company denied me insurance because I had had a few UTIs and didn't lie on the application. I was a perfectly healthy 20-something year old. I learned from that experience that when you apply for insurance, leave the section asking about prior doctor visits blank, because ANYTHING you write will disqualify you. I love how the application said, "If you need more space, please attach additional pages." Imagine how fast you'd be denied if you did that!
      Blue-you-know-what-Scam.

      November 5, 2010 at 05:44 | Report abuse |
  21. musings

    I wonder if our system is so great for Americans who live in rural areas of the country. Sure, in Boston, where I live, you get superb care. But these centers of excellence aren't everywhere. The US is a big country. I think we could all emulate the English in trying to have better health habits (if theirs really are that much better), because that might make up for some of the maldistribution of care.

    I have just had a piece of my thyroid out for a "suspicious" condition. I know for a fact that the British would never have performed this operation on mere suspicion. You'd think they had a higher rate of death from thyroid cancer than we do. One fourth of people diagnosed there with thyroid cancer will die of it, while only about 4% of US people die of it after diagnosis. Is it due to early detection? Or is it due to the fact that only forms of thyroid cancer treated in Britain are the most deadly kinds (the other kinds simply ignored). Perhaps the earlier age of death in Britain is for a variety of breakdowns in the body which are dealt with more aggressively here. But this means a lot of treatment and the nuisance of all kinds of procedures. I don't know what the right balance is, especially right now while I am still in the pain of recovery. How many more little procedures will I have in my life? Who knows. Would I trade places with a Brit? Not sure.

    November 4, 2010 at 23:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. lance corporal

    nah.... it's the crap weather in england that causes oldies to die off, I mean who wants to be old in that???

    November 4, 2010 at 23:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Jay

    Maybe, but we have better teeth!

    November 4, 2010 at 23:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. joesnopy

    People in the UK live better lives because they will not let American grown food in the UK. Plus, compare the fast food in the UK to the U.S. Big different so the kids in the UK are better off then kids in the U.S. The old Tea Party people need to take a long tour of Europe. We are so stupid in the U.S. Well I did not know until I toured the different countries because the media lie to the American people. Right you are crazy if you think the media is to the left. They are paid for by the CORPS selling us all the bad products and foods this killing our kids. American kids are projected to live shorter lives because they will be too fat. Plus the Germen system very efficient.

    November 4, 2010 at 23:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Rev Mike Talbot

    Many of the men in the USA were exposed to agent Orange! which bring about many of those problems!

    November 4, 2010 at 23:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Willowspring

    The dirty little secret is if you are predisposed to HYPO-thyroidism (low thyroid) which is a genetic disease (inheritable), there are 59 other diseases that could quite possibly develop. Three are heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. There are certain risks that can trigger diabetes, one of which is age, yes, age! The older you get, the higher the risk. Another trigger is having to take cortisone for any number of health problems. Cortisone and Prednisone are both a triggers. They are steriods. I speak from personal experience. Diabetic now at 70 after long term steroids. Insulin and diet changes followed. Only problem is, I was not overweight! During the following year weight piled on to the tune of ten pounds. I was miserable. Since going back to my regular Healthy, (I might add), diet the ten pounds melted away without any effort in three short months. The dietician ASSUMED I ate incorrectly. It took working with my very good doctor to bring me to this point. Will that be possible in just a few short years? I doubt it.

    November 5, 2010 at 00:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Chuck K.

    A friend of mine knows a guy from Canada whose dad had cancer. As soon as he retired, the doctors told him they could no longer take care of him because he wasn't helping society anymore, and so he died three months later. People say the death panels are crazy, but look to our neighbors to the north. The media try to say a lot of negative stuff about my state, but we would never disrespect life like that in Texas.

    November 5, 2010 at 00:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Johnny C

      So you (in Texas) have a friend who knows someone in Canada who.... I live in Canada and have a mother who had a quick hip replacement at 87. Her doctor is insistent on maintaining her 'quality of life'. The cost? $20 for the antibiotic injections she needed to keep off infection. You, sir, are an unscrupulous, jingoist lout.

      November 5, 2010 at 05:39 | Report abuse |
    • NumbChuckChuck

      This is completely not true. Did you hear about this on Faux News perchance? Having received "Socialized Medicine" in Canada my entire life, I can tell you that the elderly receive full treatment for all of their medical conditions. This includes people well into their 80s or 90s +.

      November 5, 2010 at 13:45 | Report abuse |
  28. Oracle

    Think your telling porkies there Chuck K. In this country the insurance companies just refuse to cover you. I have no experience of Canada but have a lot of experience in the UK (as I was born and raised there) and I have never heard of 'death panels' and have never known someone to be refused treatment. It is true that for non-urgent surgeries there can be a wait e.g. ACL reconstruction, etc. For everything major (e.g. cancer) the wait is minimal. Plus, if you don't like it you can still take out private medical insurance (i.e. what everyone over here does), which is still cheaper and get as rapid treatment as is humanly possible. Only downers are for the vain people as you still have to pay for the plastic as you do here. The other plus is that when I break a leg I don't have to first check which hospital I can go to that's covered by my insurance as I did recently here in NYC, and by the way I had to tell the attending 'doctor' how to cast my leg (and his supervisor confirmed my advice....still got charged a crap load though since my insurance covered the emergency visit with a $50 copay, but then this hospital had come up with a novel billing method in which each doctor, nurse and room (!!) I visited was charged separately so although the visit was an emergency and I paid the $50 I then had to pay each individual I saw their separate fees (radiologist, nurse, doctor and his junior/resident, and the consultant)!!! How effed up is that. Thankfully, this hospital closed down recently (St Vincents in Manhattan, bankruptcy).

    Oh and the teeth thing......most English/Europeans don't think about bleaching their teeth. In fact it is rare to see it and when you do it is more likely they will get the piss taken out of them (see Richard Hammond on Top Gear (BBC America) and how his 2 fellow presenters take the mickey) since it looks so unnatural, the same with fake boobs.....I personally don't know a single man that prefers plastic but hey whatever makes a girl feel good about themselves. People get the braces and the routine cleanings just not many do the flashlight look.

    November 5, 2010 at 02:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mike E

      The teeth of the Brits. Actually, that's changed a lot BUT you need go no further than middle America or the southern states and some of the norther states to see "bad teeth". I keep hearing this old story about the Brits and their teeth. It was true once that dental care in the UK was bad but that was 40 or 50 years ago. Here in the USA, teeth are just as bad but in the UK you can get help if you get an abcess or something. In the USA...tough sh-t, pal. Suffer.

      A word concerning "UK people only go to the doctor, etc, etc." Yet another misnomer which Americans swallow (with the help of the American medical profession's propaganda blitz). They go to the doctor just as much as anyone. As to why they live longer? Might have something to do with walking. Most leave home and walk to the bus stop, walk to the tube, walk through the many parks......as opposed to walking out the door, getting into a car, driving to the supermarket, walking down a few food shelves, getting back in the car, etc, etc.

      And of course the BIG culprit. Junk food, sold to Americans by those benevolent corporations who have America's health at heart....McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell, Jack in the Box, etc. Sadly, those iconic US corporations have spread their disease making enterprises in the UK and many other countries in the last 30 years.....and plaque clogged artieries in children prove it.

      It's a proven fact that Brits who were born just before WW2 are far more healthy than those who were born after the war. Why? Food consumption.....or should I say the lack of food consumption. Nobody in the UK starved during the 6 years of WW2 (America's 3 years) but food was not that plentiful and the stuff which clogs arteries or puts on fat, was rarely on the menu and very limited if it was on the menu.

      November 5, 2010 at 02:56 | Report abuse |
  29. Oracle

    In addition, I agree with what other posters have said. In the UK people tend to go to the doctor only when it is obvious they need to i.e. that growth on the shoulder is nearly as big as their head, etc. Over here I notice that people are much more aware/worried about their health and see doctors for everything, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. I am surprised that Brits have a longer life expectancy than Americans though, since this is the case.

    November 5, 2010 at 02:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Jaystar

    Europeans love to bash Americans an it is apparent in the way their media always exaggerates the short-commings of the American way of life. They love to look for the flaws in our system. My wife is Danish. I have first hand experience with socialized medicine and I can say there are pros and cons to both sides. In all, I would have to say, if you are American, and you have good private insurance, it will beat ANY socialized plan hands down. But if you you are uninsured, you should get your butt over to Europe.

    I have been back and forth on this issue for many years now. My wife, always hated dentists until I got her an appointment with a dentist in New York and they took much better care of her there than she ever had in her whole life. My Danish mother-in-law needed an operation and had to wait almost one year in pain on one of these 'socialized' waiting lists. I, on the other hand, have never had to wait too long for a surgery.

    After years of looking into this issue, I can only speak from experience, I much prefer the American health care I received growing up in a middle class family. Perhaps, if my family came from the projects or a trailer park, I would feel different about the issue. But I sincerely believe American medicine is more advanced, more efficient and higher quality for those who have decent private health insurance. Europeans only regurgitate the 'hit pieces' they see on television in their biased propaganda against America. There is a lot of bitterness and resentment towards America and issues like health care, give Europeans an excuse to vent on us. But it is clear that they are just as ignorant about Americans as we are about Europeans. I can give an example: Most Europeans believe that we have NO forms of socialized medicine. They don't know about medicare or medicaid. And they don't know that we have systems in place for the poor. They ALSO don't know that if you go to an emergency room, they MUST treat you regardless of whether or not you are insured. They don't know we have programs for homeless and they think we just put them in the streets because there are no other options.

    And those Americans who think European medicine is better are the Americans that have only 'traveled' to Europe as a tourist and spent a few weeks or a semester hanging around misinformed Europeans. These are the college aged americans who are trying to think outside of the box. I went through a similar phase as well. These kids eventually come back home feeling more enlightened and wiser than the rest of America and feel the need to 'educate' the rest of us on how much more 'civilized' Europe is than America. Been there, done that.

    I can tell you, I have personally lived in various European countries for many years. Over time, you come full circle and return to your roots. I spent most of my time in Switzerland AND Scandinavia. All things considered, I still choose American health care ANY day of the week. I believe the quality of the care is better.

    I must admit though, the danes have us beat on 2 main issues. 1 year of paid maternity leave and they take much better care of their elderly than we do. In America, we try to keep our elderly out of the nursing homes because we see that as a cruel way to go. But in Denmark, nursing homes are more like the expensive private communities that only rich americans get to enjoy.

    November 5, 2010 at 02:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. blucorsair

    I've been to Europe many times and its apparent that they have better food with less chemical abberations in it. This is something that our inept government (FDA) can't or won't address in our diets with regard to public safety. The majority of chemical substances used in american food is prohibited from use in Europe. Also, many europeans practice herbal supplementation and hollistic medicine, which helps. Our health care is obviously superior according to the European Society of Medicine aswell and the World Health Organization. Any americans who have lived in Europe can testify to this aswell. The only thing that vaguely comes close is the scandinavian health care systems, but they fall short in oncology, heart care and major surgery of which it costs more!

    November 5, 2010 at 03:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Rick

    It could also be that chronic-type diseases are DIAGNOSED more frequently in America, i.e. symptoms and indicators are pursued and investigated more vigorously than they are in the socialized systems. That would explain perhaps part of the difference and perhaps also why Americans are diagnosed and treated earlier and thus have better survival rates.

    November 5, 2010 at 03:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. kaki

    To the person who posted earlier, they speak Scouse in Liverpool.

    I myself have lived in both countries for some time. I can certainly say the healthcare system in the US is better and I was without private insurance for some time. The doctors in the UK just don't care. I know of someone who died from complications of a chest infection for not being given antibiotics after several visits.

    November 5, 2010 at 04:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. warsteiner

    What kind of rubbish is this? How can anyone even compare the two The US has many time the population and did they think about race and the problems the each race has and then take that into consideration.Example Pakistan people have a disease that affects them in particular well in england there are alot of Pakistanians so that would alter the out come.Blacks have a high rate of heart disease in America we have alot of blacks probably as many as Englands whole population that would affect the outcome.

    November 5, 2010 at 05:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Scottish Mama

    Our healthcare was flatlined on Tuesday. Any kind of help to the average working joe has been snuffed out. The gridlock that so many cry about is now on for the next 2 years.

    November 5, 2010 at 07:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Scottish Mama

    When I saw President Obama speak of working with republicans I saw a broken man who knew that he would not get any other kind reform . The next 2 years are dead in the water. He has done what he promised but the purse string holders can buy the people with money and/or with scare tactics.

    November 5, 2010 at 07:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. The_Mick

    This is the same old "let's pick the worst foreign systems and compare them with the USA. I'd like to see a similar article on Japan (no government insurance but NO for-profits allowed: one national network) and France (government basic insurance, private supplemental, rated #1 in the world). When Taiwan decided to have universal healthcare in the 90's it turned to the U.S. system as a guide for what to do. But it soon realized the private for-profit system was ridiculous in a field where you want the number of patients to DECREASE, not increase – which is what for-profits need to thrive.

    November 5, 2010 at 07:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. The_Mick

    I will say that I'm very pleased with the level of health care I get, which is near-Cadillac level mainly because I worked for a very large company whose workers tend to have much better than average health records: the nation's 36th largest school system. My every-three-month blood test (due to type II diabetes) checks for everything from cholesterol to white blood cell count to cholesterol to Vitamin D. I have no copay for tests, including colonoscopies. All that said, I greatly fear the spiraling increases in health care costs. In the 1980's, retirees in my system got 100% employer paid BCBS Traditional. When I retired in 2006 I got 80% employer paid BCBS Preferred Provider. For 2011 I get 75% BCBS HMO. And the cost has gone from 10% of my pension to 13.4% of my pension. I have no doubt the GOP will fight against anything that will reduce the excess costs Americans pay. And Obama made a deal with Bill Tauzin, Big Pharma's top lobbyist, that let's them keep charging us 50% more for the same prescription as ANY other nation on Earth. We're now paying 18% of our nation's GDP for health care compared to 12% in the 90's and it's expected to be 25% in a few more years. This can't keep happening without crippling our economy. It's like the heavy taxes the Romans put on Egypt to make sure it wouldn't become strong again.

    November 5, 2010 at 07:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Oracle

    Mick hit the nail on the head........any healthcare system that is for profit is going to have problems. Just think about it. How do they (hospitals, insurance companies, etc) work and exist......by making as much money as possible and who pays for this? the patient or potential patient (i.e. everyone with insurance, or not if they still go to the hospital). No one over here cares how much the cost of drugs (from anesthetics to prescription) cost explaining why they are so high. That's why the drug companies can afford all their glitzy add campaigns aimed at telling you how to tell your doctor what to prescribe (you don't think that is a perverse system!). The NHS negotiates with the drug companies to get cheap rates, after all an organisation as large as the NHS has massive buying power and clout......I am a research scientist (immunologist) with a 4 year masters degree in pharmacology (and PhD in Immunology)...i.e. I know and understand the mechanism of action of most drugs better than 99% of MDs (I obviously don't know how to diagnose a condition, etc, though which is what an MD does) but I would never feel a need to question a doctor's opinion in the UK over a drug they have prescribed me as I don't have the opinion that their arms have been twisted by a certain pharma. Over here it is different...is this doctor getting a backhander from company A, why this drug and not that one....is it because they like the flashy commercial they saw last night or the nice holiday in Barbados they are getting from them as a thankyou, etc, etc. Like my old dentist here in Manhattan.....that dude would string out the visits, something that could have been done in 1 visit ends up being 3.....I know this since my girlfriend (American) doesn't have dental insurance so she makes sure she doesn't get screwed whereas I do have dental cover plus I have a European attitude that the doctor/dentist wouldn't do something like that.....obviously I am wrong as I have learned to some cost. A procedure with my girlfriend is all done in 1 visit, the same procedure for me is done in about 3 and costs a crap load more even though I have dental insurance (only covers 50% but negotiated rates are a lot lower).....I guess that's how he made up for the cheaper rate I was paying.

    November 5, 2010 at 08:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Jorge

    Prior to WWII, it used to be a toss-up between Brits and Yanks, because both lived just as miserably in Dickensian industrial sweatshop societies. G.B. will pull away from the U.S. as their immigrant sector continues to genetically diversify the population while becoming more integrated, introduces new culture and healthier foods and the national healthcare system becomes more streamlined and effective (which it will have to). Never mind the U.S., we all know where IT's headed. There is NO WAY I will stay here after retirement and live like a pauper as the politician-sponsored U.S. healthcare sector shakes me down and whittles away at my nest egg to further line the pockets of multi-millionaire CEOs. In Puerto Rico I had an infected wisdom tooth painlessly pulled in 1995 for $14.00, in the Dominican Republic, a broken arm set very skillfully after falling off a mast antenna for $75.00 cash. In Cuba the poor can get breakthrough surgery unheard of in the states, because here it's, ahem, too expensive.

    November 5, 2010 at 08:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Oracle

    In addition, I am pleased with the healthcare I receive over here....it is to a very good standard from what I have witnessed and the facilities, etc, are nicer from what I have seen (I guess they can afford a lick of paint and the newest model machine) than that in the UK.......I just don't like the incredibly high cost to get it. I think if 2 people had the same pathology and one went to the UK and the other to the US the outcome would be the same....the US dude may get a nicer room and cable TV though.

    Oh and the person that says doctors in the UK/Europe don't care......I think you are wrong on that. If you are American then you are probably immune to the fake front that invades everything over here. The west coast is shocking for that......when I lived in Seattle, the cashiers would ask me how I was, did I have a good day, etc, etc, but I know they don't care, why would/should they. In the UK you generally don't get that false front and I think that this is what may irk some people who are not use to that. After all, the doctor over here is directly getting paid by you so he needs to at least pretend to care......just remember, doctors in the UK get paid far less than they do over here.....so it is not a profession to necessarily get mega rich from unlike it can be here in the States (i.e. people need to have some other motivation to go to medical school, etc, than just money (maybe they like helping people)).

    November 5, 2010 at 09:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Rick McDaniel

    Basically, the NHS doesn't care for the elderly all that well, and we are going to get to the same exact place, in the future, especially if ObamaCare continues.

    November 5, 2010 at 09:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Mike E

    Chuck K
    Rubbish. More propaganda put out there by the "We don't wanna be commies, dude!" Plus the AMA (that benevolent organizations which ensures US doctors get not only their pound of flesh but another pound added on) who are yet another organization which brain washes the American public. ONCE AGAIN: THERE ARE NOP DEATH PANELS IN CANDA, THE UK, FRANCE, DENMARK, SWEDEN, HOLLAND, etc, or any other country which has a National Health System. The only "civilized country" I know who operates a Death Panel is the USA BUT, it's very discreet. You don't have the money or insurance pay for a terminal illness....DEATH. Stop waving the flag and wake up.

    November 5, 2010 at 16:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Mark

    You Americans really make me laugh with your ridiculous comments, if socialised public services are so bad why do you have Police, Fire brigades and Schools paid for and controlled by the Goverment in this way? I guess you've never really thought about it that way have you, i never realised just how bad your system was until i watched a documentory called sicko which was made by an American who went around the majority of countries with socialised health care and compared them to the good old US of A. There was some American guy on it that was involved in an accident at work where 4 fingers were cut clean off. Luckly some work collegue was on the ball and put the fingers in a bag and then put the bag into ice. For some reason the insurance wouldn't pay out and the guy wasn't very rich so had to chose which 2 fingers he'd like reattaching! I personally find that disturbing and a practice that would never happen in the UK.

    November 10, 2010 at 02:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Mark

    Another thing i'd like to point out is i'm now 28 years of age and had always worked since being 12 years old. Unfortunately i've had a chronic illness for the past 3years which causes chronic abdominal pain, i'm on a lot me medication for this including 1 that i believe Americans love called Oxycontin that i also believe is quite expensive but i don't pay a penny for and also get another drug called ondansatron that works out at £10 per pill that i also pay nothing for along with numerous other medications all of them free. With my illness there's times where i have bouts of unrepentant vomiting where i need to pay a visit to the er for anti sickness injections and pain killers, this happens on average 4 times a year again i pay nothing for this. Due to my illness i've not been working since 2008 and the UK Goverment gives me approx £180 per week in benefits to help my needs, pays all my rent and council tax and as stated above pays for all my medical needs. The only things i need to pay for as utility bills and food, the Goverment also pay for taxis to take me to hospital appointments and back home again. I'm proud of the NHS and proud to be English.

    November 10, 2010 at 02:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Suchismita

    Maybe the rsoaen for China to go down 20% from its recent highs while the SP500 holds its level is because China already went back up to its pre-Krach level...Therefore one should not read so much in China volatility to explain future SP500 moves at least not until SP500 is back to its 2007 highs !

    February 1, 2012 at 02:32 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.