The Spokesman-Review

Letters to the Editor

Health influences varied

Recent letters regarding the American “non-system” of health care delivery illustrate the somewhat tired but dangerous conflict between “free-market medicine” and “socialized medicine” that has plagued us for well over a century.

From my 40-plus years in the medical profession/industry, I believe this ideological conflict will not provide much valuable information, reasoned thought or meaningful change for the mess we find ourselves in with health care.

In the interest of promoting reasoned and reasonable discussion, I offer some well-researched but seemingly little-known information that suggests that the ability of American medicine to make us healthy is quite limited, due to complex factors outside of the influence of our health care providers. In 2002, J.M. McGinnis published information that a person’s lifetime health status is fully 40 percent related to personal behavior and lifestyle, 30 percent accounted for by genetics, 15 percent due to social factors, and 5 percent to environment. Only 10 percent has anything to do with involvement with the U.S. medical system.

In other words, 90 percent of what keeps us healthy has nothing to do with health care delivery.

Donald D. Storey, M.D.


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