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Sicko Blogging

As long as some of us are blogging about “Sicko”, I thought I’d link to two great health care posts from my favorite econ blogger here and here:

In the United States, government at its various levels now accounts for roughly 45% of health care spending. (And by “now”, I mean 2004, the latest year for which OECD data are available. In 2004, of course, the government provided little prescription drug coverage. Remember that fact; it will become important later.) The United States spends about 15.3% of total GDP on healthcare. That means, for those following along at home, that government spending on health care consumes about 7.7% of GDP.

Canada spends 9.9% of GDP on healthcare. France spends 10.5% of GDP. What is the magic route by which we are going to cover all the people not currently covered by government insurance for 2.2-2.8% of GDP?

The answer to that I think is easy:  the government is going to ration health care down to that level if it’s determined to only spent 10% of GDP or thereabout on health care.  I doubt voters will be that determined, however.   Read the whole thing.

2 Responses to “Sicko Blogging”

  1. Sigivald says:

    Megan’s point (and one I always make when people compare “national health spending” like that) is that the government already spends less money than that on health care.

    What people complaining about “American health care spending” are really complaining about is that private citizens pay lots for health care in the US – and I don’t mean that they’re complaining that people “have to pay” at all – though they also do that.

    They’re complaining that the country as a whole (but not the Government alone) spends “a lot” on health care. They don’t seem to care that a lot of that is simply because people can afford to spend a lot, and value health care. Evidently having a percentage that’s “like France’s” is more important than anything else, in this analysis.

    (When they purely restrict themselves to “coverage for the really poor”, I have much more sympathy for them.)

  2. Sebastian says:

    I wouldn’t have a problem with helping poor people purchase health insurance, and cover basic health care. As long as it wouldn’t bankrupt the country. I’m fine with some redistribution schemes, as long as it’s not choking the country in taxes, which I think socialized health care would do.

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