Tuesday, July 21, 2009

We Don't Spend Enough on Health Care

Given Obama's socialist agenda to spend more on health care, may I point out, we already spend more than most nations in terms of BOTH private AND GOVERNMENT SPENDING?

It begs the question to all liberals out there, "HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH?"


Milton Hayek said...

You don't understand, it's yet another phony argument, it's just meant to fool the public. Healthcare spending isn't the issue for them, it's that the health care industry isn't centrally planned and subsidized by the government. They want total socialism. They want control, they want people like them to be in charge of running peoples' lives. They'll use whatever convenient lie they have to.

Unknown said...

One could just as well ask liberals what maximum tax rate they think would be "fair" or, rather, beyond which even they would revolt. Then cue the sound effect of crickets chirping, because of course they dare not answer.

cgh said...

Your comment is entirely reasonable about increasing expenditures. Now a question back to you: how can the US expend such enormous resources to so little effect, given that it has a lower life expectancy than every nation in the OECD, excepting only the Czech and Slovak Republics, Poland and Turkey? It should be noted that, from the same OECD data base you reference, the US advantage over those nations declines every year.

The evidence would appear to be quite clear; the US is spending the most, and wasting the most with its current system.

CBMTTek said...

We need to keep spending more on it until it becomes free for every American.

Impossible? Not if you wish for hope, change, and dreams enough.

Ryan Fuller said...

"It begs the question to all liberals out there, "HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH?""

Now they're saying we spend too much, and only the government is going to fix it.

Yeah... because the government is good at spending less.

Until they were pushing for the government to run everything, the answer was the same as for education: MORE. ALWAYS MORE.

CBMTTek said...

Spending more on something does not equate to better quality.

Plenty of very pricey luxury cars are pretty crappy, and plenty of pricey electronic items are junk.

Quality does cost money.
Pissing away money out the window with a fire hose does not guarantee an increase in quality.

Jaime Roberto said...

cgh asked, why is our life expectancy lower than other OECD countries? Here are some reasons:
1) We count premature babies as live births where other OECD countries don't.
2) We have more deaths by car crash than most countries, and those mostly affect people aged 16-25.
3) We a higher rate of violent crime, affecting the same 16-25 year old demographic.
4) We import a lot of poor people who have lower life expectancies.

Jaime Roberto said...

Another reason our life expectancy is shorter despite the money spent: we are a lot fatter than people in other countries, which increases health care expenditures and decreases life expectancy.

Anonymous said...

I'll add another thing to Jaime's list:

6) relatively high drug and alcohol abuse,

7) sexually transmitted diseases, particularly among the population in #6

8) Massive jury awards which escalate malpractice insurance and force significant waste through defensive medicine.

9) More government regulation, requirements and oversight - Federal and State.

10) The US tends to push medical services to a higher skilled professional, rather than pushing services downward down to get the minimal skill/training resources capable of doing the service well. Example - pharmacists in the US cannot write prescriptions. Doctors do routine exams rather than a Physician Assistant or a Certified Nurse Practioner. Overuse of specialists.

And to amplify Jaime's comment about obesity, part of the obesity problem is a result of society that does less walking and the American lifestyle of reliance about fast food.

cgh said...

1. Practices vary. Canadian practice is same as US, and I believe, standing to be corrected, that UK is the same.
2. More perhaps, but not to the degree shown by life expectancy differences. No huge difference between Canada and US for example.
3. True but is it enough to explain the difference? Also rates of violent crime have generally been decreasing.
4. So does Canada, and at a much higher rate than the US (approx. 1% of total population each year).
5. Obesity is not connected to overall mortality statistics variations. We've all been gaining weight in all OECD nations and we've all been increasing in longevity, the US less than almost everyone else.

6) Maybe. This one needs some exploration, but I am uncertain it's enough to explain the difference.
7) Perhaps, but things like teen pregnancy are pretty similar across all OECD nations.
8) Agreed, this one is a big one.
9) Unlikely. All OECD nations have rather massive bureaucracies for health. What's needed is to show that the US burden is beyond that of the rest of OECD.
10) Agreed. The US system of fee for service forces doctors out of GP and into specialization, so front line health care access becomes very difficult and rewards expensive treatment at the expense of diagnosis and prevention.

Jaime Roberto said...

cgh, with an issue this complicated, it is unlikely that there is a single factor that explains all the differences, and I am not pretending that any one of my points provides the answer for all differences between all countries. Nor do I think that all my points together necessarily explain all the differences. I just think that when presented with a complex set of data like expenditures vs. life expectancy, you need to look at all the factors involved.

So some countries count live births similar to the US. OK, but many don't. Some countries have similar rates of road deaths. OK, but most don't. Does our violent crime rate explain the difference. No, but it accounts for some of it. Canada imports poor people too, but most countries don't at the rate that we do. As to obesity, there has been much research showing that it does decrease life expectancy, and it is has tremendously expensive health consequences. That other OECD nations have been getting heavier does not tell us much, because we are still #1.

Ellipses said...

Why don't we just pick a health care system that is better than ours (there are plenty) and copy it?