Something to think about this morning:
There is a simple reason health care in the United States costs more than it does anywhere else: The prices are higher.
That may sound obvious. But it is, in fact, key to understanding one of the most pressing problems facing our economy. In 2009, Americans spent $7,960 per person on health care. Our neighbors in Canada spent $4,808. The Germans spent $4,218. The French, $3,978. If we had the per-person costs of any of those countries, America’s deficits would vanish. Workers would have much more money in their pockets. Our economy would grow more quickly, as our exports would be more competitive.
There are many possible explanations for why Americans pay so much more. It could be that we’re sicker. Or that we go to the doctor more frequently. But health researchers have largely discarded these theories. As Gerard Anderson, Uwe Reinhardt, Peter Hussey and Varduhi Petrosyan put it in the title of their influential 2003 study on international health-care costs, “it’s the prices, stupid.”
Have you ever traveled outside the U.S. for medical care? Tell us about it in our discussion forum!
- How Scary Is “American-Style” Healthcare to Everyone Else?
- No Surprises: U.S. Healthcare Spending Reaches a New Record
- Follow-Up: Medical Schools Begin Teaching Young Doctors About the Cost of Healthcare
- Could a Single-Payer Healthcare System Work in the U.S.? Vermont Could Lead the Way…
- What Is Your Health Care Future? 4 Possible Scenarios Laid Out