Thursday, February 12, 2009

Health care costs can't be cut by competition

Echnide has a great article on health care at Alternet. It's long and not easy to excerpt but here's a few salient points.
In 2008, the U.S life expectancy at birth was 78.1 years, while the corresponding figures in Canada and the U.K. were 81.2 and 78.9 years respectively. Infant mortality rates (measured as deaths per 1,000 live births in a calendar year, and usually regarded as valid measures of care quality) show a similar pattern that year: The U.S. rate was 6.3, the Canadian, 5.1 and the British, 4.9.

And what did we pay to get those not-so-impressive results? A lot. In 2005, the latest year for which cost data is available on all three countries, the U.S. spent 15.3 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on health care, while the health care systems of Canada and the U.K. managed to get by with 9.8 percent and 8.3 percent of their GDPs.

To put these numbers into an even starker perspective, note that the Canadian and British systems covered everyone, but the U.S. system spent a lot more while leaving around 16 percent of Americans uninsured.
Read the whole thing. She makes a compelling argument that real cost control is impossible to obtain via measures that try to increase competition in the private health care markets. It's simply not an industry that lends itself to efficiency via free market competition.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News.]


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Blogger Cosa Nostradamus said...

If the stimulus fight is any indicator, the health care battle should be epic. I think we have to start trashing the Repukes now, with the truth.

The health & education stats in their own States are the worst in the country. McCain's State is 50th in education. McConnell's State is the 4th poorest, 42nd in life expectancy.

Yet Red States all get more back in Federal spending than they pay in taxes, year after year. Palin's State is number 2 in that, but she opposes the stimulus just like the rest of her herd. Why? How can they go back to their constituents empty-handed?

I think we should cut the stimulus bill: Cut the Red States right out of it. Spend no Federal moneys in any Red State until their accounts are even with the Blue States who have been supporting them for years, getting less back in Federal spending in their own States than they paid in taxes.

No more "socialism" for the Reds. If they decide to go Blue, we can put the Red States back on the books. Not until then. It's just being "fair & balanced."

4:38:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

LOL Cosa. What a great idea. That just might shut them up.

10:59:00 AM  

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