Readers Question: The recent issue of health insurance coverage (the fact that everyone must have it or pay a penalty, and that this is causing everyone’s premiums to go up) has me wondering: why can’t the U.S. simply lower overall costs of everything, not just health insurance, but medical treatment costs, as well as all costs of living/all merchandise of any kind, but not lower anyone’s wages?
Yes, the US could reduce health care costs as a % of GDP without lowering wages and with only a minimal effect on health care standards.
The US spends more on health care than anywhere else in the world.
Note, this is health care spending per capita – and the US has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world.
For all the money the US spend on health care, there isn’t a significant improvement in living standards.
|% of health care spending as % of GDP||Govt spending as % of total health care||Per Capita expenditure 2006 (PPP)||Doctors per 10,000 population||Nurses / midwives per 10,000||Hospital beds per 10,000||Life Expectancy||male obesity|
US health care costs were 7% of GDP in 1970. UK was 4% of GDP in 1970 (Runaway health care costs) Health care costs have been rising very fast in the past few decades. Aspects of the way private health care insurance is set up means this is more likely.