Public Health Care in the US; Comparison of Countries by Public Health Expenditures

posted by Nima

June 13, 2011 · Posted in Government 

It is important to pay attention to the premises that people base their assertions on. If an entire math paper is predicated upon the theory that 1 + 1 = 3, and that theory is applied throughout the paper, then there is really no need to read on or to take the writer serious as a mathematician.

A good example in the realm of economics that I just came across is this guy who writes an article that is in large parts predicated upon the following assertion:

The United States has the most privatized health care system in the advanced world; it also has, by far, the most expensive care, without gaining any clear advantage in quality for all that spending.

So he makes the assumption that spending on health care in the US more privatized in the US than in any other industrialized nation. And from that he concludes that there is no clear advantage in quality for “all this spending”.

Now, if “all this spending” was indeed more privatized than anywhere else in the world then he may have indeed supplied a valid argument for more government involvement in the realm of health care.

If, however, this assumption were to be proven incorrect, then he would have unwittingly supplied an argument for less government involvement.

Let’s look at the facts on Health care in the United States:

Public spending accounts for between 45% and 56.1% of U.S. health care spending. Per-capita spending on health care by the U.S. government placed it among the top ten highest spenders among United Nations member countries in 2004.

Government health spending in the US in 2005 was at 7.2 percent of US GDP. In a comparison of 188 countries worldwide the US ranks at position 18. If we exclude third world countries, the US ranks at position 9, ahead of such supposed big government health care paradises as Canada or even Cuba!

Country Public health spending % of GDP
1 Marshall Islands 15
2 Micronesia, Fed States 12.4
3 Timor-Leste 11.9
4 Kiribati 11.7
5 Maldives 10.6
6 France 8.9
7 Malawi 8.7
8 Palau 8.7
9 Lesotho 8.5
10 Sao Tome & Principe 8.3
11 Germany 8.2
12 Iceland 7.8
13 Austria 7.7
14 Denmark 7.7
15 Norway 7.5
16 Sweden 7.5
17 Portugal 7.4
18 United States 7.2
19 United Kingdom 7.1
20 Luxembourg 7
21 Belgium 6.9
22 Cuba 6.9
23 New Zealand 6.9
24 Canada 6.8
25 Italy 6.8
26 Switzerland 6.8
27 Japan 6.7
28 Ireland 6.5
29 Malta 6.5
30 Czech Rep 6.3
31 San Marino 6.3
32 Colombia 6.2
33 Montenegro 6.2
34 Slovenia 6.2
35 Croatia 6
36 Netherlands 6
37 Australia 5.9
38 Spain 5.9
39 Finland 5.8
40 Serbia 5.8
41 Hungary 5.5
42 Macedonia, FYR 5.5
43 Costa Rica 5.4
44 Turkey 5.4
45 Bosnia and Herzegovina 5.2
46 Slovakia 5.2
47 Belarus 5
48 Panama 5
49 Seychelles 4.9
50 Israel 4.8
51 Jordan 4.8
52 Bulgaria 4.7
53 Grenada 4.7
54 Cape Verde 4.6
55 Argentina 4.5
56 Botswana 4.5
57 Djibouti 4.5
58 Guyana 4.5
59 Iran, Islamic Rep 4.4
60 Liberia 4.4
61 Andorra 4.3
62 Barbados 4.3
63 Bolivia 4.3
64 Greece 4.3
65 Poland 4.3
66 Dominica 4.2
67 Moldova, Rep 4.2
68 Nicaragua 4.1
69 Rwanda 4.1
70 Burkina Faso 4
71 Lithuania 4
72 Samoa 4
73 Solomon Islands 4
74 Swaziland 4
75 Latvia 3.9
76 Romania 3.9
77 El Salvador 3.8
78 Estonia 3.8
79 Honduras 3.8
80 Lebanon 3.8
81 St. Vincent & Grenadines 3.8
82 Tonga 3.8
83 Ukraine 3.7
84 Papua New Guinea 3.6
85 South Africa 3.6
86 Zimbabwe 3.6
87 Brazil 3.5
88 Namibia 3.5
89 Saint Kitts and Nevis 3.5
90 Bahamas 3.4
91 Gambia 3.4
92 Monaco 3.4
93 Uruguay 3.4
94 Mongolia 3.3
95 St. Lucia 3.3
96 Antigua and Barbuda 3.2
97 Haiti 3.2
98 Qatar 3.2
99 Russian Federation 3.2
100 Turkmenistan 3.2
101 Iraq 3.1
102 Korea, Rep 3.1
103 Benin 3
104 Ethiopia 3
105 Gabon 3
106 Korea, Dem People’s Rep 3
107 Fiji 2.9
108 Mali 2.9
109 Mexico 2.9
110 Tanzania 2.9
111 Belize 2.8
112 Bhutan 2.8
113 Chile 2.8
114 Vanuatu 2.8
115 Mozambique 2.7
116 Paraguay 2.7
117 Zambia 2.7
118 Albania 2.6
119 Algeria 2.6
120 Saudi Arabia 2.6
121 Bahrain 2.5
122 Cyprus 2.5
123 Kazakhstan 2.5
124 Kyrgyzstan 2.5
125 Suriname 2.5
126 Trinidad and Tobago 2.4
127 Tunisia 2.4
128 Uzbekistan 2.4
129 Egypt 2.3
130 Jamaica 2.3
131 Libyan Arab Jamahiriya 2.2
132 Mauritius 2.2
133 Thailand 2.2
134 Ecuador 2.1
135 Ghana 2.1
136 Kenya 2.1
137 Oman 2.1
138 Peru 2.1
139 Syrian Arab Rep 2.1
140 Venezuela 2.1
141 Yemen 2.1
142 Guatemala 2
143 Madagascar 2
144 Uganda 2
145 Malaysia 1.9
146 Morocco 1.9
147 Niger 1.9
148 Sierra Leone 1.9
149 Sri Lanka 1.9
150 United Arab Emirates 1.9
151 Armenia 1.8
152 China 1.8
153 Dominican Rep 1.7
154 Eritrea 1.7
155 Georgia 1.7
156 Guinea-Bissau 1.7
157 Kuwait 1.7
158 Mauritania 1.7
159 Senegal 1.7
160 Brunei Darussalam 1.6
161 Comoros 1.6
162 Nepal 1.6
163 Angola 1.5
164 Cambodia 1.5
165 Cameroon 1.5
166 Central African Rep 1.5
167 Chad 1.5
168 Congo, Dem Rep 1.5
169 Viet Nam 1.5
170 Sudan 1.4
171 Togo 1.4
172 Equatorial Guinea 1.3
173 Nigeria 1.2
174 Philippines 1.2
175 Singapore 1.1
176 Tajikistan 1.1
177 Afghanistan 1
178 Azerbaijan 1
179 Burundi 1
180 India 1
181 Indonesia 1
182 Congo 0.9
183 Bangladesh 0.8
184 Ivory Coast 0.8
185 Guinea 0.7
186 Lao People’s Dem Rep 0.7
187 Pakistan 0.4
188 Myanmar 0.3

So if, furthermore, said guy were to ignore or deny the fact that what he put out there is a blatant falsehood and cling on to his preconceived theories no matter what … well then we have ourselves a good old fashioned, bigoted, boring, predictable, laughable, and paid-off pseudo economist, potentially of the Keynesian specimen, who will cowardly defend the notion that his masters need more power, more money, more credit, more taxes for all eternity, no matter how much they have already been given.

People like this guy never talk about hugely important things like the state enforced special privileges and monopolies granted to the AMA that allow its members to keep prices for health care services high and supply of doctors low.

He also seems to avoid the topic of the state imposed restrictions on importing drugs from abroad unless I’m missing something, but even if he had talked about it somewhere for sure he avoids it where it matters, which would be right in this article.

He also didn’t point out that “Medicare Part D” prohibits Medicare to negotiate with drug companies, as any other entity on the free market can do.

He also passes in silence the fact that there is this institution called FDA that makes it almost impossible for innovative entrepreneurs to bring new potentially lifesaving drugs to market at a cheap price. I heard that 80% of the cost of a drug in the US covers expenses for compliance with FDA regulations.

He also avoids the fact that health insurance providers are not allowed to compete across state lines in most if not all US states.

If you ignore the root causes of why prices are so high, namely state intervention from start to finish, then there is little sense in complaining about the high cost of insurance or the supposedly insufficient level of tax extortion & enslavement of the young generation on whose backs all those outrageous expenses will fall in the end.

If on top of all that, after having been supplied all this information, you ask for EVEN MORE state intervention than we ALREADY have, then you are nothing but yet another abhorrent enabler of a system that year after year claims more and more sick people’s happiness and energy and you do indeed deserve nothing but the deepest scorn and contempt from all those who truly care to make this world a healthier and happier place to live for everyone, and not just for a privileged few who can afford the high cost of medicine and insurance in this country!

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