I’ve got to get me a prescription for Panexa. It should only be taken by patients experiencing one of the following disorders: metabolism, binocular vision, digestion (solid and liquid), circulation, menstruation, cognition, osculation, extremes of emotion.
I qualify! And I’m not going to worry about the small percentage of squirrels who take Panexa and suffer from Excessively Floppy Tail Syndrome (EFTS). On the human front, the Panexa web site reassures me about the drug’s side effects:
Most patients (2%) tolerate treatment with PANEXA well, especially when compared with prisoners of war of comparable size and weight. However, like all drugs, PANEXA can produce some notable side effects, all of which are probably really, really terrific and nothing that anyone should be concerned about, let alone notify any medical regulatory commission about.
Most side effects of PANEXA, or their sufferers, are usually short-lived, and are rarely so fatal that the remains can no longer be identified, provided good dental records are available.
But seriously…this spot-on parody should remind us of how seriously, horribly, amazingly, disgustedly screwed-up the U.S. health care system is. Over-priced and over-dangerous pharmaceuticals are just a small part of the larger problem.
Which is, Americans pay much more for medical care than other industrialized countries, yet we’re less healthy. Over on R Blog my friend Randy points out that recent studies have found that people in Canada and England are healthier than us. They’re also satisfied with their health care systems, notwithstanding all the talk in this country about long waits to get treatment and rationing.
Medical tourism is a new symptom of how sick U.S. health care is. As TIME magazine reports in “Outsourcing Your Heart,” lots of patients are going to Thailand, India, Mexico and other countries for treatment. A heart bypass in the U.S. that costs an insurer at least $55,000 (the “retail” cost is $122,000) can be had for $12,000 in Thailand. And there’s little or no evidence that the quality of care is any less overseas.
But the Bush administration believes that everything is fine. It’s touting medical savings accounts. These are a handy way for people to put money away to pay for health care that is far too expensive and demonstrably ineffective in promoting health.
However, the U.S. health care system does do one thing well: funneling massive amounts of cash to politicians so they’ll keep the highly profitable system just as it is. Failing the public and enriching corporations.