Skip to content

Money For Nothing

September 11, 2009

WE SPEND a lot of money:

Among industrialized countries, the United States spends the most on health care, both in terms of per-person costs and as a share of the economy.

Other countries such Germany, France, Switzerland and Japan have private providers and hospitals similar to the United States, but their insurance plans don’t make a profit.

In Japan, per capita costs are estimated at $2,249, half of what we spend in the United States. France, ranked in 2000 by the World Health Organization as the country with the world’s best performing healthcare system, spends $3,048 per person.

The U.S. ranked 37th in that study just above Slovenia and below Costa Rica. [Oliphant & Geiger]

Meh.

Here are the numbers. The dollar amounts are health expenditures per person (from the OECD figures for year 2007.) The numerals in parenthesis are the rankings of overall health system performance from the year 2000 WHO report mentioned above, (this was the last year WHO compiled such rankings.)

First, by expenditures:

  • United States: $7290 (37)
  • Norway: $4763 (11)
  • Canada: $3895 (30)
  • Belgium: $3462 (21)
  • France: $3601 (1)
  • Japan: $2581 (10)
  • Finland: $2840 (31)
  • United Kingdom: $2292 (18)
  • Mexico: $823 (61)

And the same list again by overall performance:

  • France: $3601 (1)
  • Japan: $2581 (10)
  • Norway: $4763 (11)
  • United Kingdom: $2292 (18)
  • Belgium: $3462 (21)
  • Canada: $3895 (30)
  • Finland: $2840 (31)
  • United States: $7290 (37)
  • Mexico: $823 (61)

Reader, draw your own conclusions. But consider this: If the best performing health care system in the world cost less than half of what we pay, ($3689 less per person,) and even the second biggest spender still only paid 65% of what we do, ($2527 less per person); then where is that more than $2500 extra per person going?

My mind jumps first to insurance companies’ profits. Now, here’s a business where the profit motive is to decline, as often as possible, to pay for the very services their customers are paying them to cover.

It’s the profits, stupid! And no, Obama doesn’t have the fucking answer. I’ve said it before in this space and the other, and I’ll say it again right here: What is on the table is not ‘comprehensive health care reform.’ It’s mandatory health insurance. That fucking guy wants to force you to buy health insurance, from companies whose profit motive is to decline, as often as possible, to pay for what you’re paying them for!

The above listed figures and rankings obviously notwithstanding, here’s what Obama said in his health care speech the other night:

…if we are able to slow the growth of health care costs by just one-tenth of 1 percent each year — one-tenth of 1 percent — it will actually reduce the deficit…[Obama]

Slow the growth? By just one-tenth of 1 percent? Fuck that shit. Ought to decrease spending (not growth!) by 25% (not 0.1%!)

Hat tip to Somerby for pointing out, well, almost everything referenced here.

Advertisements
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: