Health Care Costs – A 1994 Prediction Visited Twenty Years Later

Majid Ali, M.D.

In my book RDA: Rats, Drugs, and Assumptions (1994), I made the following prediction:

“Two elements characterize medicine in the U.S. today: The cost of health care continues to escalate, and the health of Americans continues to deteriorate. If the two trends were to hold, a time can be foreseen when the nation’s total resources will have to be committed to health care, and everyone will be unwell.”

How do I look at this prediction twenty years later?

The U.S. clearly continues on the disturbing trajectory which I foresaw fifteen years ago. The country spent $3.2.4 trillion in 2013 on its disease-maintenance system, and we Americans, as I show in companion articles on this other websites, continue to get sicker. The incidence rates of most inflammatory and degenerative disorders in the U.S. are steadily rising.

A Different View 

In a series of articles published in Townsend Letter in 2007-2008, I offered a proposal for an all-voluntary National Health Corps patterned after President Kennedy’s Peace Corps with the following words:

“I offer my proposal with a thought experiment, for which I safely assume:

(1) There is no end in sight for the deepening health care crisis with the prevailing medical model; 

(2) We Americans are a compassionate and resourceful people who resolved grave problems in our history with massive citizens’ efforts; and 

(3) The country has a sufficient number of civic leaders, teachers, and integrative clinicians willing and able to develop and implement an all voluntary national “Health Corps”-drawing on the experience of the Peace Corps-but robustly protected from the corporate influences of the American “medical-industrial complex.”

 

 

My second assumption-compassion and resourcefulness of the people-has become more compelling in recent months. As for the third assumption of my thought experiment, I observed a most impressive display of medical altruism at Capital University of Integrative Medicine, Washington, D.C. during a decade when I served as its president, and again in the summer of 2008 with an all voluntary “Diabetes/Hypertension Initiative” organized and implemented by non-commercial, listener-supported WBAI radio based in New York (both described in related articles on this and other sites (search for  “National Health Corps”. 

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