Health Care by the Numbers

One of the many people unable to get adequate mental care under the current private insurance system.

As many of you already know, Obama’s new health-care plan will allow your doctor to put down your grandmother like a rabid dog if she comes down with arthritis, bursitis, or just “a case of the Mondays.” I’m kidding, of course. It will be up to a government-appointed panel of socialist veterinary students. Your doctor will have nothing to do with it.

As many Americans have discovered, well reasoned health-care policy can only be reached through the careful application of shouting. Shouting masks the mind-control techniques favored by secular death-panel advocates everywhere. Tin-foil underpants are optional — but if they’re good enough for Glenn Beck, they’re good enough for me.

All kidding aside, health-care reform is a serious, serious issue. And as such, it deserves serious debate. It’s not getting that type of serious debate right now because discussing health care reform with the self-proclaimed “conservative” movement is like discussing international monetary policy with a troop of baboons, except the baboons throw less poo.

I want to have a real discussion on this issue. It’s too important not to talk about it. But if we’re going to have a serious conversation, we need to at least agree on the facts. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but no one gets to have their own set of facts. Let’s nail down the facts about American health care, and then we can talk intelligently about how we can reform it, or if reform is even needed.

The main argument against reform is that the United States has the best health care in the world. I’d like to test that theory. A few things to note: every single other “first world” nation has some form of single-payer, government-sponsored health-care plan. We are the only one that does not. So let’s see how the U.S. privatized system compares to the the single-payer systems found around the world.

Costs

One of the greatest fears I have heard, over and over again is that government-run health care will cause costs to skyrocket. Let’s see how costs are doing today under our private health-care system.

Health Care per Capita Expenditure by Country

 

According to the OECD data, we spend more per capita on health-care than any other nation on earth — by a large margin. But, as is the case with fiscal deficits, often this type of massive spending is rationalized by pointing out that our GDP is much higher as well, so the total cost as a percentage of our GDP is still low. Let’s see if that pans out here.

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