Saturday, August 8, 2009

Healthcare: A failure to communicate

I'm probably talking out of school here - but I find the national debate on heathcare to be pathetic. We've become a nation so tied up in ideology - so hardwired into pre-conceived notions of what should be, that our debates increasingly tend to start and end with the way we think things should be rather than how they are. We're increasingly becoming a nation of ideologues rather than practical thinkers.

I'm so disappointed with the national healthcare debate because I don't think even the most fundamental issue of cost is even understood at the simplest level by the voters. At it's core I think we are seeing a massive failure to communicate.

At it's core is the issue of cost I pointed to a short while back. Why do we spend twice as much as most other comparable countries on healthcare? I can't get past this graph showing national healthcare expenditure vs. life expectancy (yes, click the link and digest the graph - it's important) for countries around the world. Why is it so hard for us to admit that the system we have is the most expensive system in the world - by far - without producing a noticeably healthier outcome?

Some datapoints from just eyeballing the graph:

Healthcare - - - -
Spending - - - - -life
per/capita - - - -expectancy

$6200 - - - - - - 77.9 yrs United States
$3200 - - - - - - 79.0 yrs Canada
$3300 - - - - - - 81.0 Australia
$3400 - - - - - - 80.5 France
$3300 - - - - - - 79.0 Germany
$1500 - - - - - - 78.5 South Korea
$2300 - - - - - - 82.0 Japan

And here's the thing... I don't have a clue why I have to pay so much for my health insurance. I have no idea. Why is healthcare so much cheaper everywhere except in America? And if the care is really that much better, I need to understand what our extra $3000 per year per person is buying and why it's worth it.

2 comments: said...

I am insurance poor at the moment and some day soon I will have to give up something and it will be insurance.

Danny said...

Lawyers. $$$. Lawyers. $$$. Lawyers. $$$.