As a physician, student of health policy, and human being, I depend on facts. Here are some examples.
As a physician:
- Treating high blood pressure prevents heart attacks and strokes and prolongs life.
- Treating diabetes prevents blindness, kidney failure, and amputations (as well as heart attacks and strokes) and prolongs life.
- Antibiotics cure many infections.
- Vaccination has eliminated the scourge of smallpox, and nearly that of polio, from the face of the Earth.
- Chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery can cure some cancers.
- Depression is a mostly treatable illness.
As a student of health policy:
- Since 2010, the proportion of working-age Americans without health insurance has dropped from 20 percent to 12 percent.
- The United States spent $3.2 trillion on health care in 2015, which was more than the gross domestic products of all but four nations.
- Life expectancy at birth in the United States was 79.3 years in 2015, which ranked 31st in the world according to the World Health Organization.
- The cost and quality of health care vary enormously among states and localities in the United States.
As a human being:
- Water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius).
- Eleven Americans have walked on the moon and returned safely.
- Humans have 46 chromosomes that contain the DNA comprising our genes.
- The universe is expanding.
- E = mc2
Facts light the way through darkness. They are the basis for civilization as we know it. The Commonwealth Fund will continue to uncover and celebrate facts about our health care system because without them, we cannot make that system better—and we cannot have better lives. Without facts, we are lost.