Tuesday, April 12, 2011

U.S. Health Care: Spend More to Get Less

From the WSJ:
A new report finds that the U.S. spends far more on health care than any of the other 29 OECD nations, and gets less health for its money. Annual public and private health-care spending in the U.S. stands at $7,538 per person, 2.41 times the OECD average and 51% more than the second-biggest spender, Norway. Meanwhile, average U.S. life expectancy is 77.9 years, less than the OECD average of 79.4.

Improving the health-care system could go a long way toward fixing the U.S. government’s finances. The OECD estimates that if the U.S. reached the efficiency level of the best-performing countries, the government could save the equivalent of 2.7% of economic output every year. That’s enough to solve about a third of the country’s budget-deficit problem.

For anybody who has actually looked at the numbers (and shut out the talking heads), this is old news. The last time I seriously studied the issue (about 2 years ago), the numbers were striking. Our system is bloated and ineffective compared to the "socialized" medicines of the EU and Asia. Logic would dictate that we should adopt the system that is cheaper and more effective. However, logic left our discourse a long time ago.