Does Costa Rica Have Better Healthcare System Than America?

Would you be surprised to learn that Costa Rica may have a better healthcare system than the United States?

If you listen to Dr. G. Richard Olds, that just may be the conclusion you might come to. Olds is the Vice Chancellor of Health Affairs at the University of California, Riverside. He is also the founding Dean of their new medical school which is taking a slightly different approach to medicine than most medical schools.

In a Washington Post article, Olds wrote:

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“The United States spends more money on health care than any other country in the world. So how does Costa Rica outperform the United States in every measure of health of its population? Costa Rica is healthier because its government spends more money than ours does on prevention and wellness”

“In our country, we have left vast segments of the population without affordable care and we do not focus on wellness or chronic disease management. We don’t consistently control the glucose levels in diabetics and, consequently, too many go blind or lose a limb. Too often, hypertension goes untreated until the patient has a stroke or kidney disease. Then, all too often, these individuals go on medical disability with far more societal expense than the cost of the original health management.”

“Sadly, it has become the American way to leave many chronic diseases untreated until they become emergency situations at exorbitant cost to the U.S. health-care system. For many patients, this care is too late to prevent life-changing disabilities and an early death.”

The mission of the UCR School of Medicine states:

“The mission of the UCR School of Medicine is to improve the health of the people of California and, especially, to serve Inland Southern California by training a diverse workforce of physicians and by developing innovative research and health care delivery programs that will improve the health of the medically underserved in the region and become models to be emulated throughout the state and nation.”

Olds advocates spending more time and resources in health prevention rather than in treatment. He believes that if the US medical system emulated the system used in Costa Rica in concentrating on prevention that it would be a win-win for the US. Our citizenry would be healthier and overall medical costs would be much lower and more manageable.

I would hope as Republicans take control of Congress that they would talk to Dr. Olds and have him help them craft a workable and truly affordable healthcare system that could replace Obamacare.

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