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Jeff Sutherland

Twice the Energy with Half the Stress

Business as Usual: FDA Prevents Citizens from Analyzing Their Own DNA

On November 22, the FDA sent a warning letter to to stop its inexpensive ($99 per test) “do-it-yourself” genetic testing service for health screening and ancestry purposes, because consumers could be “misled” and harm themselves by “self-treating.” For example, the FDA posits that an individual who learns they have a predilection for cancer would, as a result, undergo unnecessary preventive surgery, chemotherapy, and other “morbidity-inducing actions.”
The FDA’s argument is, quite clearly, a straw man: of course patients have to obtain medical advice before making major health decisions—it’s not as if consumers can go under the knife without significant medical consultation! The FDA’s true message is clear: because individuals can’t be trusted to make sound health decisions, they don’t have a right to private information on their own DNA.
It’s also worth noting that FDA action against 23andMe was sparked, in part, by a complaint by UnitedHealth Group, the largest publicly traded health insurer. UnitedHealth isn’t exactly an unbiased observer—they want access to information about your DNA. After all, if individuals were allowed to keep their DNA test data private, they wouldn’t have to share their results with insurers who, for example, could use an inherited health risk to deny insurance or charge exorbitant rates.
The FDA’s stance on DIY genetic testing could very well drive up healthcare costs. Besides premiums being raised on those forced to report DNA results to insurance companies, in-office testing is far more expensive. As tests are priced anywhere from $300 to $3,500, this could significantly add to the overall cost of healthcare.——-
This, of course, should be unconstitutional. However, violation of citizen’s right has become the norm due to special interest groups.As Harvard Business Review points out, the healthcare system is in need of total disruption as it suppresses innovation that causing increased deaths in the population. This is one of the reasons that the U.S. healthcare system is number 38 in the world, roughly equivalent to some developing nations. Yet many of our citizens think U.S. healthcare is the best in the world because we spend more money per capita on healthcare than any other nation.
UPDATE: In 2024 the U.S. healthcare system is 113th in the world and the most expensive! The information below is Wikipedia’s outdated data.

1France France4
2Italy Italy11
3San Marino San Marino21
4 Andorra23
5 Malta37
6Singapore Singapore38
7Spain Spain24
8Oman Oman62
9 Austria6
10Japan Japan13
11 Norway16
12Portugal Portugal27
13 Monaco12
14 Greece30
15Iceland Iceland14
16 Luxembourg5
17Netherlands Netherlands9
18United Kingdom United Kingdom26
19Republic of Ireland Ireland25
20Switzerland Switzerland2
21 Belgium15
22Colombia Colombia49
23Sweden Sweden7
24Cyprus Cyprus39
25Germany Germany3
26Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia63
27United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates35
28Israel Israel19
29Morocco Morocco99
30Canada Canada10
31Finland Finland18
32Australia Australia17
33 Chile44
34Argentina Argentina15
35 Denmark8
36 Dominica70
37Costa Rica Costa Rica50
38United States United States1

The United States’ healthcare system, in terms of outcomes, does not fare well compared to other countries, especially considering the amount it spends on healthcare. As of 2024, the U.S. is ranked 113th globally in healthcare outcomes, according to the World Population Review. This ranking places the U.S. behind many other countries, despite its high expenditure on healthcare per capita.

In terms of specific health outcomes, while the U.S. has some strengths, such as lower 30-day mortality rates for strokes compared to average rates in similar countries, it faces significant challenges in other areas. For example, the U.S. has a high maternal mortality rate, which is the highest among comparable countries. Moreover, hospital admission rates for conditions like congestive heart failure and diabetes are higher in the U.S. than the average across similar countries, indicating potential issues in preventive care.

The U.S. healthcare system ranks last among high-income countries, as reported by JAMA Network. This ranking reflects various factors, including healthcare quality, safety, delivery models, and health disparities.

Another critical aspect of the U.S. healthcare system is its high spending compared to other wealthy countries. In 2022, the U.S. spent approximately $12,555 per person on healthcare, which is significantly higher than the spending in other wealthy OECD countries. Despite this high spending, the health outcomes in the U.S. are generally not better than those in other developed countries. The U.S. performs worse in several common health metrics, including life expectancy, infant mortality, and unmanaged diabetes.

Do your own research. Ask Bard, chatGPT, and other AI to analyze healthcare status for you. Educate yourself.