Cuban Health Care Versus US Health Care

Cubans live 2 months longer than Americans. Or, if you want to be picky, it’s a wash, and Cubans and Americans live about as long as each other.

Cuba’s rates of maternal mortality (a very important figure), infant mortality and child mortality rates are above that of the 3rd World and are at about the level of the 1st World. In that sense, Cuba is a 1st world country.

What is incredible is this:

Cuba spends 4 cents on health care to every one of our dollars. Yes, Cuba gets better outcomes for 96% less cost. Does that make any sense at all?

32% of all US health care dollars go for overhead, while with Medicare, only 2% is spent on overhead. This is probably why the rightwing wants to get rid of Medicare: it’s too efficient. That 2% figure really gets their goat. If they wiped out Medicare and forced the elderly to buy their own, that 2% would go up to 32%.

The Republican Party is the true party of waste and bureaucracy. The US has the most bureaucratic health care system in the world. There are 1,500 different health care insurance companies, each providing their own complicated plans. The result is a complete mess.

For profit medicine leads to overtreatment. That’s all there is to it. Meanwhile, while doctors and administrators and executives get rich, the US system kills and kills again. In 2008, reduced access to care killed over 2,000 US veterans. If all 23.7 million US women aged 50-70 were shifted from nonprofits to for-profit plans, the result 5,925 extra breast cancer deaths a year.

For profit medicine is simply legalized murder. The capitalist kills because it is profitable to do so. If limiting his profits means saving lives, the capitalist will always refuse to limit his profits in order to save lives. If killing people means the capitalist can reap more profits, then the capitalist will kill in the blink of an eye.

Capitalism is always about killing people, and capitalists are always killers. It’s part of the system. The only reason that they kill as few as they do is due to anti-capitalists* at the state level who regulate the capitalists so they kill a minimal number of people.

More here.

*In a capitalist society, the only way to have a decent society and not a 3rd world capitalist shithole is to populate the state apparatus with anti-capitalists, defined here as those willing to regulate capital in the public interest by placing limits on capitalists’ profits and reducing their profit-taking.


Filed under Americas, Capitalism, Capitalists, Caribbean, Conservatism, Cuba, Death, Economics, Health, Latin America, North America, Political Science, Politics, Public Health, Regional, Republicans, Scum, US Politics, USA

9 responses to “Cuban Health Care Versus US Health Care

  1. Pingback: Friday Reads 6/3/11 – Kids Health Care to Rick Scott’s Drug Testing Law!

  2. Related somewhat to this, I was struck awhile back by your reference to the Chinese using capitalism as a “tool,” which I thought very insightful. I try to thing of economics as a necessary, but not sufficient, component of ideology, and that capitalism and socialism are both insufficient to build an ideology on. Indeed, an obsession with economics can distort one’s awareness of other factors, or eliminate it entirely.

    • Dota

      Economics is an extention of ideology. Capitalism, as Adam Smith percieved it, was merely an extention of classical liberalism. 200 years ago, an ardent capitalist would have been considered a liberal. That changed when John Stuart Mill and Jeremy Bentham insisted that the purpose of the state of to maximise happiness for the maximum number of people (hedonistic calculus). This was the origin of the idea for the welfare state.

    • tulio

      Brilliant point.

  3. Dota

    “the purpose of the state of to maximise happiness for the maximum number ”

    the purpose of the state ‘is’ to maximise… damn typos

  4. tulio

    Couldn’t there be other factors behind longer Cuban lifespans? Things such as lower obesity rates? Healthier diet with less processed Mcfoods? I don’t think anyone would argue that the quality of healthcare in Cuba is superior to the United States. If you have pancreatic cancer, I’d say you’d be better off in the U.S. than in Cuba. However, due to lifestyle and health differences, perhaps they have fewer of things that afflict Americans like heart disease, diabetes and cancer. The majority of Americans are overweight and 1/3 over the age of 20 are obese. Sure, I agree that our healthcare system in the U.S. sucks balls, not the quality of the healthcare(which is excellent) but the cost and accessibility. But let’s not forget that we are also an expensive lot to keep healthy.

    • No one really knows.

      Cubans are now experiencing a lot of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, etc. because they are aging.

      I am not sure how much longer someone with cancer would live in the US.

      Why is it so expensive to keep us healthy? I don’t get it.

      Maybe Cubans are not as fat, but a Hell of a lot of them smoke. Cigars.

      Capitalist health care is shit. It simply doesn’t work. Capitalism is bad for your health, bottom line. Capitalist health care is never going to work very well, because they less they treat you, the more money they make. For profit medicine is simply a failed project.

      That’s not to say that the whole capitalist project is failed. But for profit medicine doesn’t work. Not only that, but it’s been proven to kill. It kills and kills and kills and kills. Because the more they treat you, the less money they make.

      I find it humorous that capitalist apologists simply can’t find one good thing to say about the Cuban model. My Mom is certainly no Commie, but even she admitted that the Cubans made great gains in health care, education, housing, etc.

      There are some things that capitalism simply can’t do well. Education is one, health care is another. And there are a number of others. It’s amazing that capitalist apologists can’t seem to acknowledge this.

      • BlueFlan

        So you’re implying that we have good education now, because it is certainly not a product of the free market. Aside from that minor point, where are your sources, where are you getting your facts from? Infant mortality, for instance, has different standards according to the country you’re in. Some don’t count premature births as “infants” if they end up dying. Others don’t count infants who die within the first few hours of birth, or stillborn babies.

        On your other points, considering I live in the “medicare fraud capital of the US”, I can guarantee that you’re 2% overhead cost is utter crap. I can’t go half a mile without tripping over an pharmacy mill, peddling thousands of forged prescriptions and falsified charges taken from medicare and medicaid. At best, this “article” is disingenuous, at worst, you’re flat out lying.

        Cuba has not made strides in housing, healthcare, and education, unless you’re only source is the Cuban government. You probably haven’t been to Cuba, and if you have, you’d know the country was better off in 1955 than it is in 2012.

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