Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Education and Health Care Spending

Amazing how much more is spent on higher education and health care in the US than in the rest of the world. The gap between the US and other countries would be even larger if shown as spending per person, as GDP per capita is larger in the US than in the other countries.

At least with higher education spending the US has created the highest quality system in the world. With the health care system it seems like much of that extra spending is just wasted. But, spending on higher education is getting out of hand and needs to be reigned in as well.

Also interesting how over half of the spending on higher education and health care comes from private sources in the US, while in the rest of the world the government picks up the majority of the tab.

via The Economist and The Economist


Rebelfish said...

Education expenses are climbing but not as much as they used to. I heard on the radio today that private college tuition went up by 4.3%, the lowest amount in 35 years.

Fat Knowledge said...

Sad, that 4.3% is the lowest increase in the last 35% and it is still .5% higher than the CPI.

What I don't get is why it has been increasing at all. Isn't college more or less the same as it was 35 years ago? I don't understand what the cause of the price increases is or where all that extra money is going to.

Berber said...

I understand that most of the innovation in health care comes from the US. That must be the way in which the funds are wasted. All that innovation, and Americans don't get the benefit, the rest of the world with national health care does.

Or not, since with national health care, the wait for advanced diagnostic and therapeutic procedures can be a killer all on its own.

Fat Knowledge said...


I do agree with you that lots of health care innovation comes from the US. The NIH budget is $30 billion, the US funds new expensive procedures not covered elsewhere, and we pay more for the same patented drugs than other countries. The rest of the rich world free rides off of the US and I would like to see them pick up more of the share for R&D.

But, I don't think that explains it all. I lean more towards this analysis from the article:

According to David Cutler, an economics professor at Harvard who has advised the president on the reform, even doctors believe that around 30% of money spent on health care in America is wasted.

The trouble with health care in America, says Muriel Gillick, a geriatrics expert at Harvard Medical School, is that people want to believe that “there is always a fix.” She argues that the way Medicare is organised encourages too many interventions towards the end of life that may extend the patient’s lifespan only slightly, if at all, and can cause unnecessary suffering. It would often be better, she thinks, not to try so hard to eke out a few more hours or weeks but to concentrate on quality of life.

Anonymous said...

The reason higher education costs have gone up so much is the same exact reason why house prices soared after 1934. That was the year that mortgages became popular in the US, and borrowing to purchase a house permitted essentially an "arms race" kind of increase in housing costs, since access to larger pools of capital were available to many people. Same thing happened, and is happening with education.

But now that the banks are tightening the purse strings, fewer people will borrow to go to school, admissions will drop, and colleges that wish to remain in existence will have to lower tuition and fees, and cut some of the bloated fat from their budgets.

Same issue with "healthcare." Without "insurance," or taxpayer-funded health coverage, there is no possible way that costs could increase so quickly relative to incomes.

chandra said...

Thanks for the statics! helped my project work!
Health Care Education Requirements

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