"We spend over $4,000
per capita on personal health care, about twice as much as Canada
and the European countries (which cover all their citizens), and
the gap is growing. Why is our system such a money sink? Not because
our population is older or sicker. All the Western countries have
aging populations vulnerable to nearly the same illnesses at roughly
the same rates, and ours is actually younger than most. Nor is
the reason that we get better outcomes.
By all the usual measures of
health-life expectancy, infant mortality, childhood immunization
rate- we do worse than most Western countries. The only plausible
explanation is how health care is financed and delivered. The
American health care system is staggeringly wasteful and inflationary.
The United States is unique in treating health care as a market
commodity distributed according to the ability to pay instead
of as a social good distributed according to medical need."
American Prospect magazine
"To discredit the single-payer
idea, insurers, HMOs, for-profit hospitals and other private interests
play on Americans' long-standing fears of Big Government. In truth,
it is the private market that has created a massive bureaucracy,
one that dwarfs the size and costs of Medicare, the most efficiently
run health insurance program in the U.S. in terms of administrative
costs. Medicare's overhead averages about 2% a year."
Donald Barlett and James Steele
Universal Health Care
" There is a great deal
of money to be made by wrecking the Canadian system of Medicare
(universal health care). All the excess costs of an American-style
payment system represent higher incomes for both the insurance
industry and providers of care. "
Public Citizen's Health Research
"AARP ... was founded
as an insurance business in 1958, and the organization, then called
the American Association of Retired Persons, opposed the creation
of Medicare. It never developed an activist orientation, and for
many years its focus was on selling insurance. In 2002, about
24 percent of its operating revenue came from health-insurance-related
Barbara T. Dreyfuss
"U.S. health expenditures
are by far the highest of any country in the world at 15 percent
of GDP. No other country spends even 11 percent of GDP. The U.S.
also spends much more in absolute dollars. U.S. citizens pay $5,440
on average for health coverage while Canadians, the fourth biggest
spenders, shell out $2,927...
In the U.S., 75 million are
without insurance at some point every two years while in Canada,
government spending provides health coverage for everyone...
According to the International
Journal of Health Services, "the average ranking for the
United States on 16 health indicators in a 1998 comparative study
of 13 countries by Starfield was 12th, second from the bottom...
Insurance companies, for-profit
hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and doctors-the historical
linchpin of corporate medicine-oppose universal health insurance.
They are powerful political players. According to Acumen Journal,
"since late 1999 [U.S.] health care lobbying spending has
consistently passed that of any other industry. In 2002, that
amounted to expenditures of $264 million...the health care industry
as a whole accounted for 15 percent of the $1.8 billion in lobbying
spending for 2002."
Rising Health Costs, Yves Engler,
Z mag, April 2004