12 March 2007

Health care policy

Scott Lemiuex at Tapped figures out an amazing statistic.
Let's use their figures to extrapolate government health care spending per capita:

United States  $2745

Again, our system doesn't just spend far more money than France's much better system and Canada's heavily flawed but still better system, but more government money.

That's right. In theory, we could switch to a single-payer health care system that covers everybody, eliminating all of the current costs to individuals and employers, and do it without raising taxes a nickel.


Anonymous said...

Those numbers are compelling, I agree, but it doesn't take into account the fact that Americans tend to be less healthy than the French. (Or the ridiculous lenghts we have to go to to avoid malpractice lawsuits.)

Although, with that factored in, I still suspect that universal health coverage would be cheaper. But, they have to wait till my loans are paid off!


Charlie Anders said...

I never thought I'd be defending our messed up health care system... but there is one major difference between us and Canada, and that's availability of high-tech medicine. There's one MRI machine for the whole province of Saskatchewan. Whereas here in the U.S., there's an MRI machine on every block. Those things are expensive, and the way their owners afford them is to perform lots and lots of scans, even when it's barely necessary. OTOH, if you really need an MRI, you're way better off being here.

batojar said...

Charlie, the wait time in Saskatchewan for an MRI is, indeed scandalous, and it is because there are too few machines, but there were 3 machines in service in 2004 and the plan was to have a fourth online in 2005 (I don't know if this came to pass). Yes, there are tons of MRI machines in my hometown, but the population of my CITY is eight times that of the whole province of Saskatchewan.


Also, it should be noted that the Canadian health care system is Provincially based so what you get in Saskatchewan is very different than Ontario. Kind of like how Mississippi has an infant mortality rate of 10.3/1000 and Maine has 4.4/1000. Your just better of not being in the effing boondocks of Saskatchewan.

Besides this "high tech" medicine has less impact on general national heath than basic health care which we bollix up compared to Canada. Again with the infant mortality rates Canada: 4.69/1000 vs US: 6.43/1000. Hell, Cuba beats us by two slots on that one.

Geoff said...

Interesting today that in the face of stock market rally today... most health management providers took it in the shorts (no pun intended). UNH for example, dropped 15% of market cap.

The reason: Wellpoint reported that the cost of healthcare went up per person dramatically.

So, by extension, in order to meet 10Q numbers, health management companies will need to raise premiums and lower payouts. Face it, somebodies 401K is managing your health insurance coverage.

Someone has to realize that the model for healthcare is prevention. France and Japan have good models for prevention, especially in pre and peri natal women and young children.

btw, my cousin died for the lack of an MRI machine (and trauma surgery facilities) in PEI. by the time he was diagnosed with a ruptured aorta, he was too far gone to airlift to Halifax.