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Carmona: U.S. health system actually 'sick care'

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Carmona: U.S. health system actually 'sick care'

Richard Carmona, former U.S. surgeon general under President George W. Bush and current Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, released the following statement Thursday on the Supreme Court's ruling on health care reform:

I've worked within our health care system as a paramedic, nurse, trauma surgeon, hospital administrator, university professor and as the 17th surgeon general of the United States. I've seen the inefficiencies and problems first hand, but I also subscribe to the belief that every American should have access to a basic set of health care benefits.

Both Democrats and Republicans got it wrong. The fact is, we don't have a health care system, we have a sick care system. More than 75 percent of the $2.8 trillion we now spend in health care costs annually go towards treating chronic diseases, much of which are preventable. We each need to be more responsible for our personal health choices — that alone would cut health costs dramatically.

The Affordable Care Act does contain laudable first steps that help address health disparities and the access inequities of the current system but it also has major flaws. Until we have leaders courageous enough to deal seriously and apolitically with a costly and ineffective business model, we won't make the reforms needed to cut costs, encourage prevention and adopt healthier lifestyles.

The health and fiscal security of our nation is on the line, but neither side is willing to shed special interest politics to fix it. We need to drop the politics, solve the problems and move forward before the rising cost of inaction bankrupts our country.

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