Health Care as a Percent of GDP


The Kaiser Family Foundation published a study,  including this chart of 2003 data,  comparing American health care costs to other developed nations and the only thing that has changed is the percentage of our GDP allocated to health care today, around 17%.  This in the face of those who are screaming bloody murder that we could end up with some expensive health care albatross such as England or Canada.  We already have a health care albatross hanging around our necks.  Nevertheless, the conservative opposition would rather continue the current inefficient, wasteful, expensive non-system.  Go figure.

I posted this yesterday with a graph leading it off.  It was displayed for a while but has now become nothing but a little blue box with a question mark inside.  Don’t know how to fix it.

9 thoughts on “Health Care as a Percent of GDP”

  1. Since we have a great number of legislators who profess the Christian faith and desire a closer tie between it and governmental policy, I wonder if they would agree to start each day's session with a brief reading from a portion of Psalm 82 (BCP version)God takes his stand in the council of heaven;he gives judgment in the midst of the gods:\”How long will you judge unjustly,and show favor to the wicked?Save the weak and the poor;deliver them from the power of the wicked…\”

  2. CP,I have met very few Christians in my life, I have met many who call themselves \”Christian\” but mostly I see them wearing this mantle as a \”get out of jail free\” card. The depth of their faith, or belief is strong but it doesn't cross the divide, perhaps we see the result of the Gnostic being so widely accepted in \”popular\” christian teaching. When it comes to health care the preference is for the option of elective procedures provided to self over needed care for the other.Tuesday of this week I was at the local butcher shop, there were six young men having lunch there (there is a lunch counter), Their conversation was enthusiastic and loud, very animated. They were talking about the economy and health care! One was putting forward that it should be a basic human right, health care that is. They also were in agreement that all workers should be paid a living wage no matter what work it is that they do. The interesting part was that every time they came up with a idea they were stopped cold by the fact that any such legislation would mean government intervention or taxing according to means, and that would smack of socialism or even communism. These young men had the values of Christianity but have been so indoctrinated in the religion of capitalism that it took precedence. The Church has a lot to answer for in its complicity to and thru the rise of the religious right and the shift in values over the last two 3 generations.

  3. You did not know how to fix your chart comparing health care costs in different countries, and our country apparently does not know how to fix its health care system!As I said on this blog comment before, I am afraid that the interest lobbies against any really effective goverment health care system are too powerful for any real reform. The Senate committee, I heard, that has a bill to offer has deleted any government insurance portion (as Bill McCaw reports). To adapt the words of St. Paul, \”Our strife is not with flesh and blood, but with pricipalities and powers.\” They defeated Hillary and Bill Clinton's efforts in the 1990s, and they are just biding their time and working behind the scenes to weaken any attempts to take away the fat profits of the medical/insurance industries. And old Ted Kennedy is ailing and absent most of the time. Dr. B

  4. On another blog I ran into an otherwise quite reasonable Methodist minister who is convinced that government programs are wasteful and bloated while market forces assure that private industry is lean and efficient. His three cases in point were Medicare, Social Security and the Post Office. In a response to a comment I offered he made it clear that he has no idea how any of the three actually operate, only what he reads or hears from the news. I thought about going into it deeper but figured it would take too long and only end up in a shouting match. My point is that he is representative of a huge number of Americans who still think Ronal Reagan had it right.

  5. Reuters via Yahoo News 6/21/09Americans struggle to pay for healthcare: studyBy Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor59 mins agoWASHINGTON (Reuters) – Americans are struggling to pay for healthcare in the ongoing economic recession, with a quarter saying they have had trouble in the past 12 months, according to a survey released on Monday.Baby boomers — the generation born between 1946 and 1964 — had the most trouble and were the most likely to put off medical treatments or services, said researchers at Center for Healthcare Improvement, part of the Healthcare business of Thomson Reuters.The study, available at, found that 17.4 percent of households reported postponing or delaying healthcare over the past year.The U.S. Congress is working on a way to cover more of the 46 million people who lack health insurance, lower costs and coordinate care better. President Barack Obama has made it one of his administration's top priorities.Americans pay more per capita for healthcare than people in any other country, yet have high rates of infant mortality, diabetes, untreated heart disease and other conditions. Americans are often dissatisfied with their access to care.Thomson Reuters — the parent company of Reuters news agency — used its annual Pulse survey that queries 100,000 households to get information about health behavior.Gary Pickens, George Popa and colleagues at the Michigan-based center interviewed more than 6,000 people in March and April about job losses, what healthcare they had used and their plans for future treatment.UNEMPLOYMENT FACTOR\”April numbers showed a significant increase in the percentage of households in which a member had lost a job in the last three months (13.5 percent),\” the researchers wrote. In March, 11 percent said they had lost jobs.\”The percentage of households that had difficulty in paying for care in the last year was statistically unchanged between March and April (about 25 percent).\”They found 40 percent of all households planned to postpone care in the coming three months, with about 15 percent planning to put off routine doctor visits.People born before 1946 were the least likely to delay care, probably because most can take part in Medicare, the federal health insurance plan for the elderly, the researchers found.Baby Boomers were four times more likely than seniors to have trouble paying for healthcare, according to the report.People born after 1984 were also unlikely to put off care, probably because they are too young to need much medical attention, the researchers said.Income was also a big factor — homes where people made less than $50,000 a year were three times as likely to say they had trouble paying for medical bills as homes with combined incomes of $100,000 or more.\”It is important for healthcare providers, employers and policymakers to consider how the economy and healthcare policies affect demographic segments differently,\” Pickens said in a statement.Copyright © 2009 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.Questions or CommentsPrivacy PolicyTerms of ServiceCopyright/IP Policy

  6. The UK's (no such thing as England's!) spend on health care is 8.2% of GDP, Canada's 9.7%*. So if these levels are albatrosses, clearly the US has a pterodactyl around it's neck! As long as those in power in the US value money over people's lives, then nothing will change. If the land of the free means the freedom to be born into inadequate health care through no fault of your own, freedom is meaningless. One needs one's health before one can do anything with one's life.I refer you to article 25 of the declaration of human rights \”Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family.\”US society is in breach of this declaration until it accepts that the market is not the solution to everything. Surely recent developments have made that clear to everyone.I feel privileged to have been born in a country where health care is paid for through government taxation – it is free at the point of delivery. Sure it's not perfect, but it's cheap, effective and everybody is covered. Aneurin Bevan, I salute you!*source: WHO report 2008

  7. Bruno, I find it interesting that these views you listed of these young men you considered to being “Christian.” I would like to know how exactly? Were all the vendors in the markets paid the same wage no matter what or how many goods they sold? How about the fishermen or any other? Why was it that Solomon and Job were so rich and David’s family so poor?I would contend that Bruno has been equally indoctrinated by our leftist educational system just as these young men have been. The principle of a standard living wage is defeated by the most basic and fundamental teaching of doctrine from scripture… SIN. History has proven this fact time and time again in each and every country that attempted a similar economic system (i.e. Russia and England), whether it would be called Communism, Socialism or anything else. In those two examples I will present some specifics. Russia, people were forced to work and work hard or fear being beaten, starved or just shot, jailed or worse. Fear was the method used to overcome the nature of sin that became lazy when the realization that perfect equality was wholly unequal (no matter how hard they worked the neighbor who did nothing got exactly the same pay, etc.). In England, car workers would show up to the factory and stand outside at burning trashcans talking with their fellow workers and eating all day until it was time to go home. Hmm, yea, this sounds like a logical economic method and one consistent with scripture (obviously sarcastic).Furthermore, Bruno seems to discount the creation of this country and all of its reasons. Of the many was the limitation of governmental power, influence and responsibility. At no point in time did these very Christian and Christianity influenced men contemplate the idea of a living wage. In fact Thomas Jefferson wrote: “A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take away from the mouth of labor the bread that it has earned – this is the sum of good government.” In actuality it is a statement against income tax. But even then Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and all the others had their own businesses, many farms, and made or lost money on the success, or lack their of, of running that business. This is far from a “living wage.”Solomon teaches us to be wise, as does Paul. What wisdom is their in systems that have already proven to failures and induce tyranny instead of liberty (something that is declared to be an inalienable right granted by God). ‘Healthcare’ may at some time be considered to be a right. In actuality we all have access to healthcare, we just have to pay for it (something Canadian’s don’t have the liberty to do by law). However, ‘health insurance’ is not a “right” but a privilege just like owning a vehicle, house, tv, cable, phone, etc., nor should it be anything but a privilege. Sure, the system needs reforming, but wisdom dictates that a government system is not only ineffectual and foolish but leads to tyranny.Finally Bruno (aw come on, stop cheering people, heh), the “rise of the religious right and shift in values over the last 3 generations” is just a false statement. In fact, the religious influence has continued to wane since the turn of the century moving more and more to the humanist/progressive left. Now I agree that the values have shifted since the 70’s (and well before) but not towards the “religious right” but instead away from it. I ask you this simple question, if you were to line up every value that the left believes and holds to and put it up against the principles and teachings of scripture, do you think it is going to be more in tune or less in tune than the political right? Neither is perfect, nor will ever be, but intellectual honesty is essential. Ultimately, Capitalism is the worst economic system ever developed… except for all the others.

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