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A man with a headache goes to the hospital and is floored by what he learns at checkout.

Why is health care so much more expensive in the United States than the rest of the world?

A man with a headache goes to the hospital and is floored by what he learns at checkout.

A man with a headache walks into a hospital and is whisked into the rigmarole of American health care. He's floored by what he learns at the end of his visit. Hint: It isn't his diagnosis. It's his hospital bill.

Follow his unfortunate journey in this funny and eye-opening tour of the U.S. health care system with WE THE ECONOMY:

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The U.S. has the world's most expensive health care. But is it the best in the world?


All GIFs via WE THE ECONOMY.

Survey says: Not even close. The 2015 Social Progress Index ranks the U.S. as 68th (among 133 countries) in health and wellness. And according to a report by the Commonwealth Fund:

"The United States health care system is the most expensive in the world, but ... the U.S. underperforms relative to other countries on most dimensions of performance."

Among the 11 wealthy countries they studied, the U.S. ranked last on health care access, efficiency, and equity. So much for "best in the world," huh?

What's the biggest difference between the health care in the U.S. and the rest of the developed world?

It's "the absence of universal health insurance coverage," say the researchers at the Commonwealth Fund. The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) has insured an additional 16 million Americans, making possible "the largest drop in the uninsured rate in four decades."

And after years of debate and uncertainty over the future of the law, the Supreme Court finally ruled Obamacare subsidies are legit under the Constitution.

But with almost half of all states having refused the Medicaid expansion (because politics works in mysterious stupid ways), over 4 million Americans, mostly across the South, have fallen through the cracks.

Who's to blame for the country's skyrocketing health care costs? If only there were a simple answer.


According to the video, our health care cost conundrum was the result of bad choices by a lot of people who, in looking out for only themselves, placed society at large at risk:

"The insurance companies fought it because they'd be losing money. And the doctors fought it because they would lose money and independence. And a lot of Americans just didn't trust the federal government to run their health care."

Of course, powerful business interests like insurance and pharmaceuticals drive up our costs with political maneuvering and ploys for market control.

Big Pharma: "Otherwise everyone will copy me and drive the price down!"

Insurance: "Yes, it is."

Like millions of people, this story's man of mishap is fed up with greed in American health care.

In a fit of frustration, he demands answers:

"Why can't you charge one price for the whole procedure instead of for every blood test and an aspirin? Why can't hospitals list their prices? And why isn't there price control like there are in other countries?"

Why indeed?

Photo courtesy of Justin Sather
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Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

While most 10-year-olds are playing Minecraft, riding bikes, or watching YouTube videos, Justin Sather is intent on saving the planet. And it all started with a frog blanket when he was a baby.

"He carried it everywhere," Justin's mom tells us. "He had frog everything, even a frog-themed birthday party."

In kindergarten, Justin learned that frogs are an indicator species – animals, plants, or microorganisms used to monitor drastic changes in our environment. With nearly one-third of frog species on the verge of extinction due to pollution, pesticides, contaminated water, and habitat destruction, Justin realized that his little amphibian friends had something important to say.

"The frogs are telling us the planet needs our help," says Justin.

While it was his love of frogs that led him to understand how important the species are to our ecosystem, it wasn't until he read the children's book What Do You Do With An Idea by Kobi Yamada that Justin-the-activist was born.

Inspired by the book and with his mother's help, he set out on a mission to raise funds for frog habitats by selling toy frogs in his Los Angeles neighborhood. But it was his frog art which incorporated scientific facts that caught people's attention. Justin's message spread from neighbor to neighbor and through social media; so much so that he was able to raise $2,000 for the non-profit Save The Frogs.

And while many kids might have their 8th birthday party at a laser tag center or a waterslide park, Justin invited his friends to the Ballona wetlands ecological preserve to pick invasive weeds and discuss the harms of plastic pollution.

Justin's determination to save the frogs and help the planet got a massive boost when he met legendary conservationist Dr. Jane Goodall.

Photo courtesy of Justin Sather

At one of her Roots and Shoots youth initiative events, Dr. Goodall was so impressed with Justin's enthusiasm for helping frogs, she challenged the young activist to take it one step further and focus on plastic pollution as well. Justin accepted her challenge and soon after was featured in an issue of Bravery Magazine dedicated to Jane Goodall.

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Another week of 2021 in the books...and now we're fully into September. Holy moly, how did that happen? Pandemic time is so wild.

Another week means another chance for us to counter the doom-and-gloom headlines with some simple rays of sunshine. Need a reason to smile? Here are 10 of them.

Enjoy.

1. This story of quick-thinking generosity on 9/11 is a reminder of the goodness of ordinary people.

Mercedes Martinez shared a story on Twitter about how her dad rented the biggest van he could find just before his flight was grounded on 9/11 because he knew people were going to be stranded. He ended up driving seven scared strangers from Omaha to Denver, took them straight to their front doors, and refused to accept any payment. She wants to find the people he helped. Read the full story here and follow her thread here for updates.


2. A WWII veteran got to meet the girl who wrote him a letter in the third grade, which he's kept with him for 12 years.

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