Saturday, January 28, 2006

America Already Has Socialized Medicine

I find it funny that American's are so opposed to "socialized medicine", and yet have no issues with adding a drug benefit to Medicare. As this article in The Economist points out:

Add together Medicaid, Medicare and other publicly financed health care, such as that for ex-servicemen, and the public sector already pays for 45% of American health care. (The total is nearer 60% if you include the tax subsidies.)
So we are already around 50% "socialist" already. And if you look at the graph, in the US public spending as a % of GDP is larger than the OECD average. It is just that we end up paying a ton more in private spending than any other country. And this graph is in % of GDP. Since the US has the largest GDP/capita, if this were in dollars it would be even worse. Why don't we just take the plunge and go to universal coverage?

Also notice how "socialized" medicine countries they still have private spending on medicine (on average about 3%). And which country in the world has the most private market/capitalistic medical system? One where when you go to a hospital, there is a board that lists the price of each service available, and you have to pay upfront? Oh, that would be "Communist" China. Gotta love the labels.

And you have to love The Economist's take on what the US needs to do:
In the longer term, America, like this adamantly pro-market newspaper, may have no choice other than to accept a more overtly European-style system. In such a scheme, the government would pay for a mandated insurance system, but leave the provision of care to a mix of public and private providers.
and what it doesn't:
Mr Bush's health-care philosophy has a certain political appeal. It suggests incremental change rather than a comprehensive solution. It reinforces existing industry trends. And it promises to be pain-free. Unfortunately, it will not work. The Bush agenda may speed the reform of American health care, but only by hastening the day the current system falls apart.

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