The Olympics are over, but the memories and images of the athletes are doing everything they can to pay homage to their homeland. We saw competitors come up with different styles of polar vault, discus or distance and BMX racing.
However, we never saw an athlete ready to carry the whole rocks before announcing the call for a “date” – from the very beginning the United States stuck to a health system as a global economic competitor. Inefficient because it is unreasonable. In general, this means waste and injustice.
Poet Robert Burns argued that “seeing ourselves as others see us” is a gift. It is difficult to do as an individual and impossible for a total of 331 million people. However, the first step is to compare ourselves with others.
For decades, colleges have been teaching courses in “comparative economic systems”. But then communist regimes collapsed and many economists agreed that these cycles were a waste of time because the American approach now dominates.
Fortunately, some companies still have system-by-system comparison studies useful for sectors such as healthcare. The Commonwealth Fund, a New York-based charity, is one such organization that was recently launched.Mirror, Mirror 2021-Poorly Reflected: U.S. Health Care Compared to Other High-Income Countries. “
This report compares the performance of the health care system in five categories in 11 different high-income industrialized countries and compares it with costs. Such comparisons are not new and the conclusion that we have lost control in terms of high cost and low performance should not surprise anyone familiar with the problem.
The skeptics would argue that performance measures in some areas, such as health care, are inherently self-involved in selecting, measuring and weighing indicators, compared to everything else done in the United States. That’s right. So the easiest thing is to read the 41 page report yourself. You can download the PDF file from the link above.
Countries compared in this study include the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, France, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Norway. With the exception of the last three countries, European countries are members of the European Union. Note that southern EU countries such as Japan or Italy, Spain or Portugal, or any new Communist EU members such as Poland or Hungary were not included. This research comes from countries with political cultures in northwestern Europe.
Much of the debate in our country over the past two decades has focused on addressing the shortcomings in care access. President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act focused on these issues by introducing insurance transfers, premium subsidies and medical expansion for low-income people. For many it has improved, but there are problems. We have not yet functioned as countries with comparable incomes.
Then there are the costs. Our health care spending is about 17% of the total output value or GDP value of goods and services. The comparative average for the other 10 countries in the survey is just under 11 percent. Since individual GDP is generally higher than others, the variance in the absolute monetary value of health expenditures is greater than parts of GDP. But here comes the question of what exchange rates to use in comparisons between the dollar and the euro or the franc, so leave out the basic fact that we spend more in terms of money and a larger share of production.
However, it is worthwhile to look at what the difference of 6 per cent in GDP means to our country. This year’s production is about $ 20.9 trillion. Six percent of that is $ 1.25 trillion. This leads us to the analogy that an Olympian chooses to load rocks before an event: even if we do not improve the performance of our health system, if we can reduce costs to the average of other educated states, we could use $ 1.25 trillion for other needs. This is more than we spend on social security. This is more than double the amount spent on the Ministry of Defense.
At a census of 331 million Americans by 2020, the 6 point difference in our country is close to $ 3,800 per person. Bullwingle Moose called it “antihistamine money, it’s not something to sneeze at.” This has the effect of a tax levied on each family, which is not comparable to any other family.
It also helps our Canadians in the North, who have a similar economic and political culture, score slightly better than us in the performance measures of the study, tenth of the five subdivisions of size. But they do 6 percent less than GDP.
When one raises issues like this, one hears that there are more and more new technologies and practices in our country. There is the issue of comparable waiting time for surgeries in Canada and the UK, which is reflected as part of the ‘care process’ section of the study, where we come in second, followed by France, Germany and Sweden.
Yes, we have very advanced medicine, but our benefit is not as great as we think. Yes, other countries have serious problems. But most of our views on health in other countries are based on myth and fiction, not truth.
The complex issue is how to change it, even if we accept that our country is not right. Calling it a “single payer” (in other words, the government pays) because a kind of sanity is useless if individuals and companies already have a lot to lose due to the very costly and already made change; It’s like calling “arms control” when there are 400 million weapons in private hands. You cannot undo the dilemma we have been pushing for decades.
However, seeing ourselves in a comparative context is a necessary first step. Studying the Commonwealth may not be flawless, but it is a great starting point for interested citizens.
St. Paul’s economist and author Edward Lauterman can be approached here [email protected]
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