What is the way to achieve health and longevity? A recent article in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) was written to prove The Value of Medical Spending. But it has done more to expose the underlying problems of the medical complex that were not acknowledged before.
The first problem of achieving longevity and good health is the cost of medicine per year per man, woman and child. The NEJM article reported that our 2006 annual medical spending was $6,000 per person. (More recently the US Dept. of Health and Human Services stated that the 2016 annual cost was $10,345 per person.)
The second problem is that the article’s authors argue that this large expenditure saves lives. Then they give an estimated price tag for each year to life that medicine was supposed to have added. As an example, the NEJM authors concluded that the cost of increasing the life of a 45-year old person by just one year between 1990 and 2000 was more than $100,000. In addition, they stated that the cost for an added year for a 65-year old was about $150,000. (These costs have, of course, increased far more in the intervening years.)
The third problem is a question that has not really been addressed before. Namely, does medicine actually save lives? This sounds like a trivial question. Yet since people die as well as improve under medical care, what is the contribution of medicine for both cases? Even for those who get well, what is the contribution of medical care over the natural inner curative processes? Medicine itself or iatrogenics is also the #3 cause of death, slightly ahead of diabetes.