U.S. far from having finest health system

The Coloradoan, Jan. 3, 2011

I am writing in response to "U.S. has world's best health-care system." It was said that "we have, without a doubt, the finest health-care system in the world."

In the United States, we do have the finest nurses, physicians and technology in the world. The system, however, is far from the finest. Each year in the United States, the system drives 700,000 families to bankruptcy from medical bills (the majority of whom have medical insurance). Every year, the system leaves 50 million people uninsured. Every year, the system allows 45,000 people to die from lack of access to basic medical care. Our system charges nearly twice as much per capita to accomplish these statistics. The system is neither fair nor fiscally sound. The good news is that the solution exists in a uniquely American proposal put forth by an organization endorsed by more than 18,000 medical providers in our country. Learn more about the proposal at Physicians for a National Health Program (

Learn more about other successful health-care systems by reading T.R. Reid's well-considered "The Healing of America." We need to open our minds and hearts to a health-care system that provides access for all and promises our sons and daughters a fiscally sound and sustainable future.

Doug Whitman, M.D., pediatrician
Larimer County