Dr. Silverman discusses his thoughts on comparing American health care with systems in Europe and Canada. He attributes America's lower life expectancy, compared to Canada and Europe to a lack of healthy living, as opposed to a broken health care system. Saying,
American patients...are more obese than patients in other countries. We eat a diet high in fat and carbohydrate content. As a population, we smoke like there’s no tomorrow. We drive everywhere we go and don’t get any exercise. Instead of exercising to control our blood pressure or diabetes, we sit on the couch and take a pill. We eat ice cream and cake, and then take some insulin to bring down our sugar levelsI agree with Dr. Silverman because preventative care has been shown to be the best way to improve patients' quality of life. However, earlier in the article, Dr. Silverman explains that American's shouldn't expect universal health care just because Canadians and Europeans have universal health care,
It is true that those countries [Canada and Europe] do have universal health care, but is it a fair comparison?Discussing the "these countries rely on the United States for security when peace is compromised" issue would taint this post with a political slant that has nothing to do with the fallacy of Dr. Silverman's argument, so I will leave it alone. However, the crux of Dr. Silverman's argument in the above quote is that America could easily provide universal health care, but it must spend that money on other expenditures, like defence. Thus, American's should not expect the same health care that Canadians and Europeans receive because Canadians and Europeans have fewer financial burdens, allowing them to spend more on universal health care.
Who does Canada rely on to defend its borders? When the Germans invaded France in World War II who stormed the beaches at Normandy? The point is, these countries rely on the United States for security when peace is compromised. America allocates trillions of dollars to defend both itself and the rest of the world. No other country does this. That money could easily be used for universal health care.
Reuters illustrates the argument against Dr. Silverman's statement quite nicely.
Here is a comparison of the United States' health care costs versus those of selected other countries in 2006:America probably does spend much more money on defence than Canada and Europe. However, that does not help the argument against universal health care. The countries that offer their citizens universal health care (e.g. Canada) spend significantly less per capita on health care than the United States. The American health care system is broken and needs to be reorganized. People aren't lobbying for more money to be thrown at the problem. They are lobbying for a more intelligent system.
UNITED STATES: 15.9 pct of GDP, $6,657 per capita
BRAZIL: 7.9 pct of GDP, $371 per capita
CANADA: 9.7 pct of GDP, $3,430 per capita
CHINA: 4.7 pct of GDP, $81 per capita
FRANCE: 11.1 pct of GDP, $3,807 per capita
GERMANY: 10.7 pct of GDP, $3,628 per capita
INDIA: 5.0 pct of GDP, $36 per capita
ISRAEL: 7.9 pct of GDP, $1,533 per capita
JAPAN: 8.2 pct of GDP, $2,936 per capita
MEXICO: 6.4 pct of GDP, $474 per capita
SOUTH AFRICA: 8.7 pct of GDP, $437 per capita
SWEDEN: 8.9 pct of GDP, $3,598 per capita
RUSSIAN FEDERATION: 5.2 pct of GDP, $277 per capita
UNITED KINGDOM: 8.2 pct of GDP, $3,064 per capita
Again, living healthy is paramount and pushing Americans to clean up their diets and improve their attitudes about exercise is very important, maybe even more important than health care reform. However, claiming that America can't offer universal health care because it spends so much money on defence just doesn't add up.