15 January, 2010

The Best in the World, Eh?

The best in the world at spending far too much and getting far too little, yeah:
It's hard to constantly come up with new ways to say "America spends way, way, way, way, way more than any other country on health care." But we do! Just look at the National Geographic graph above, which puts per-person spending on one side of the chart and average life expectancy on the other. Or consider this: If we spent what Canada spends per person, our deficit problem would go away entirely. And Canada's per-person average is in a country where everybody is fully covered and so has full access to care. America's is in a country with 47 million uninsured, and so many people skimp on needed care. So the comparison is actually unfair to Canada.

David Leonhardt has another way of making the point. We don't have a government-run system. But our system is so expensive that our government's partial role is pricier than the whole of government-run systems.
If we had a functioning, rational government in this country, we'd have elected leaders all huddling over this graph.  They'd see that the "how much we spend" point on the line is ridiculously higher than anybody else's "how much we spend" point.  And for a moment, they might preen with pride, until they traced the downslope, and came to the point that tells us just how much life expectancy we're getting out of that, and realize just how very low it is compared to countries that spend far less.  And then they might notice how blue this graph is.  Well, blue represents countries with universal health care.  Interesting thing is, the vast majority of countries with universal health care spend less and live longer than we do.

At this point, if we had a functioning, rational government in this country, our elected leaders would hustle a bill through the House and Senate that gave us universal health care at a fraction of our current costs.  The President would sign it, and within a few days, perhaps a week, we'd be on our way to sitting with the grown up industrialized nations.

Alas, we haven't got a functioning, rational government.  We have a government that is partially rational and attempting to function, but that has a rather large minority of batshit fucking insane dipshits and a handful of posturing nitwits who are incapable of comprehending simple reality, but damned sure know how to fuck everything up.  Thus, we have ended up with a wretched cripple of a reform bill that is, appallingly, miles better than the current status quo.

I don't know how we can get to a point where batshit fucking insane dipshits are no longer given enough political power to keep things this badly fucked up.  But we have to try.  That graph up above is unacceptable for a nation like America.  It's time more Americans realized that.

1 comment:

Cujo359 said...

What people have been saying for a long time is that a single-payer system, or a system that is properly regulated, would be able to cover everyone for the same price or less than what we pay now to "cover" the people we do.

Sadly, neither of those things is what is in the current health care bills. What's in those bills is a gigantic subsidy for the system we have now, which demonstrably doesn't work. They have made the problem worse, not better, and set it on a course that will continue to get worse.

And quite a few people are calling that a victory. The stupidity doesn't end with Congress. In fact, you might say it's a symptom of a much more widespread stupidity.