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Dateline 6/8/2000

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Dismal W.H.O. Health Report Reveals Sickness of U.S. Health Care System, Hagelin Says
Presidential candidate cites hazards of current approach, calls for cost-effective prevention

(June 8) Reacting today to America's dismal ranking in the recent WHO health report, John Hagelin called for an end to the current "special-interest-driven disease-care system," to be replaced, he said, with "cost-effective, prevention-oriented health care that puts the health of the people over corporate profits."

Dr. Hagelin, coalition presidential candidate of the Reform and Natural Law parties, founded the U.S. Congressional Prevention Coalition and has worked closely with members of Congress on sweeping health care reforms.

"Despite the promise of managed care and other cost containment efforts, America spends more for medical services per capita than any other country. Yet we have some of the worst health statistics of any developed country," said Dr. Hagelin, a Harvard-trained quantum physicist. "It's a travesty in this time of prosperity that low-income, inner city, and rural Americans have health outcomes similar to people living in Sub-Saharan Africa."

The United States placed 24th on the WHO report (19th among the 29 OECD nations) which presented the "disability-adjusted, life expectancy"-or the number of healthy years of life that people in various countries can expect to live. The U.S. life expectancy of 70 years narrowly edged out the developing nations of Cyprus and Dominica.

Hagelin said he would direct more funding to cost-effective, scientifically proven prevention for Medicare and Medicaid, and to expand prevention options for people in HMOs and other private health insurance plans. He has championed the inclusion of cost-effective prevention in the "Patients' Bill of Rights" legislation.

Hagelin said that America's poor health is due in part to the ineffectiveness and hazards of "high-cost, high-tech" medicine. Reseach published in peer-reviewed journals shows:

  • The side-effects of medication properly prescribed and administered was the fourth leading cause of death in America, according to an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
  • Nearly 100,000 Americans die each year from medical errors, according to a recent study by the Institute of Medicine.
  • Over 80,000 Americans die annually from infections that they acquire while being treated in a hospital.
  • Nearly 50% of the surgical operations in the United States are unnecessary and expose patients to serious risk of injury and death.

Hagelin said that nearly all other industrialized nations spend more per capita on prevention than the United States.

"According to the government's own statistics, over 70% of disease is from preventable causes. Yet less than 0.01% of Medicare expenditures are devoted to prevention," Hagelin said. "However, extensive research shows that comprehensive disease prevention and health promotion programs can dramatically improve health. Prevention could cut skyrocketing medical costs in half in less than five years."

Hagelin is the Natural Law Party presidential candidate, and will be one of only two candidates, along with Pat Buchanan, appearing on the Reform Party national primary ballot later this month. Hagelin is on target to appear on the ballot in all 50 states, and has already qualified for nearly $1 million in federal primary matching funds.

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