How to reduce 45 percent of US budget
13:49, January 25, 2011
John Milligan-Whyte and Dai Min
Using cheaper, effective and less painful Chinese medical treatments is an essential part of reducing the U.S. government's deficit funding of healthcare. China should increase its current roles in using Chinese medical and stem cell treatments and play a new innovative role in understanding medicine as a phenomenon of physics in the 21st century, global public health care policy development, medical treatment research and biotechnology investing.
First, China needs induce the United States to collaborate with it in a comparative analysis of the costs, effectiveness and patient comfort or discomfort of Chinese and American medicinal treatment approaches to the list of human ailments from A to Z. For many illnesses, the Chinese medical approach is cheaper, more effective and less painful.
For example, in response to severe back pain that makes it nearly impossible to walk, the U.S. medical treatment could be a gall bladder operation. The Chinese medical treatment is to instruct the patient to eat lots of cucumbers. For whatever reasons, for that patient, the Chinese medicine treatment was tried first and was effective. Another example is the insertion of electrified needles to reduce the size of a cancer tumor. A comparison by American and Chinese patients, healthcare providers, insurers and public policymakers of the cost, effectiveness, and painfulness of Chinese and U.S. medical responses' to the list of human ailments is urgently required.
The comparative analysis must be a collaborative effort by American and Chinese medical practitioners, public policymakers and physicists. The United States plays the leading role in innovative research and the use of methods of preventing and treating illnesses that are not indigenous to China. China plays the leading role in innovative research and the use of Chinese medicines to prevent and treat illnesses. It has the most research and clinical patient treatment and research experience in these areas.
Both China and the United States are struggling and responding in different ways to their citizens' health care needs with less than adequate success. China is struggling to provide health care to 1.34 billion people with an annual per capita income of about 12 percent of that of the estimated 312 million Americans.
The United States has an annual GDP of 15 trillion U.S. dollars, which is three times that of China. But, health care is caught up in the United States' relentless economic, unemployment and national, state and local governments' unsustainable deficit and debt crises. The U.S. federal government is spending 45 percent of its annual federal budget on health care and it has a budget deficit in 2009 of 1.42 trillion U.S. dollars.
The U.S. government's debt is projected to reach 100 percent of America's annual GDP by 2020. The likelihood is low to nonexistent that the American government and people will be able to pay their debts, borrow to fund their deficits and sustain the scope and level of health care that Americans have come to expect. Neither the U.S. government nor the people can afford the healthcare they currently have. It confronts Americans with personal and national bankruptcy as the "baby boomers" born between 1946 and 1964 grow old.
China is the United States' largest creditor. The United States cannot cure an overdose of deficit spending and debt that it cannot repay by creating more debt and printing money. The global bond markets are heading toward collapse. When the full faith and credit of the U.S. government declines, the government's ability to fund health care will also decline. President Obama is struggling to reduce the costs and to make health care available to all Americans.
The second innovative role in which China already leads and must accelerate is comparative study of the effectiveness, cost, patient comfort or discomfort of stem cell and non-stem cell treatments. Stem cell research and its clinical use is one of the revolutions in 21st century health care in which the United States is lagging behind.
China's third innovative role is pioneering studying and explaining medicine as a phenomenon of physics and inducing Americans and others to do so. There are few if any medical doctors in the United States or China with doctorate degrees in physics. That must change because medicine is not merely a phenomenon of biology, chemistry or genetics. The comparative analysis of U.S. and Chinese medical treatments and stem cell and non-stem cell treatments must include Chinese and U.S medical doctors as well as theoretical and experimental physicists working together to understand medicine as a phenomenon of physics. Doctors at the leading U.S. hospitals are reducing the size of tumors using electrified acupuncture. Decades ago, a U.S. physicist and a Chinese doctor independently used and explained why the treatment works.
The authors' new books, "China and America's Responsibilities in Mankind's Future" and "Combining Innovative Research Areas In 21st Century Medicine," are volumes 8 and 9 in their America-China Partnership Book Series.
The articles in this column represent the author's views only. They do not represent opinions of People's Daily or People's Daily Online.
John Milligan-Whyte and Dai Min are the executive producers and co-hosts of the Collaboration of Civilizations television series adapted by the eight books they wrote in the America-China Partnership Book Series published in English and Mandarin in 2009-2010. They founded the America-China Partnership Foundation and Forum in 2008 and the Center for America-China Partnership in 2005. E-mail: info@CenterACP.com