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  • Tom Boyd

US Healthcare Spending

I think it is worthwhile to put a different spin to the large (and often stated) over allocation of resources and GDP to the costs of health care. The Kaiser report, noted below, does give the usual findings about the high cost of health care.

However, the report also notes, excerpted below, that our public expenditures for health care are in line with other industrialized countries as % of GDP and less than all of them as % of total health expenditures. If the main argument is about the cost to the government these comparisons would support the idea that Medicare, Medicaid, CHIPs , etc. are underfunded not overfunded. It also supports the idea that the Medicare patient already pays more than their share of the costs.

Kaiser Family Foundation report 2011-04-28

Report Examines Health Care Spending in the U.S. and Other Industrialized Countries This report examines trends in health care spending in the United States as it compares to the 15 wealthiest countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Health Care Spending in the United States and Selected OECD Countries April 2011

Health Spending and Public and Private Spending: While the United States has had above average total spending, its public expenditures are in line with other countries. At 7.4%, of GDP public expenditures in the U.S. on health are only 0.2% above the 15-country average (Exhibit 9). Conversely, the United States has much more private sector spending as a percentage of GDP.

Exhibit 9 Public Health Expenditure as a Percentage of GDP, U.S. and Selected Countries, 2008

Exhibit 12 shows the percentage of a country’s total health expenditure committed by the public sector. Exhibit 12 Public Spending on Health as a Percentage of Total Health Expenditure

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