T. R. Reid, writing for the Washington Post, addresses five myths about health care around the world.
Read the whole thing. It’s worth your time. I was surprised by a number of things, but this struck me most:
U.S. health insurance companies have the highest administrative costs in the world; they spend roughly 20 cents of every dollar for nonmedical costs, such as paperwork, reviewing claims and marketing. France’s health insurance industry, in contrast, covers everybody and spends about 4 percent on administration. Canada’s universal insurance system, run by government bureaucrats, spends 6 percent on administration. In Taiwan, a leaner version of the Canadian model has administrative costs of 1.5 percent; one year, this figure ballooned to 2 percent, and the opposition parties savaged the government for wasting money.
The world champion at controlling medical costs is Japan, even though its aging population is a profligate consumer of medical care. On average, the Japanese go to the doctor 15 times a year, three times the U.S. rate. They have twice as many MRI scans and X-rays. Quality is high; life expectancy and recovery rates for major diseases are better than in the United States. And yet Japan spends about $3,400 per person annually on health care; the United States spends more than $7,000. [emphasis mine]
All this while “In Japan, waiting times are so short that most patients don’t bother to make an appointment”.
We like to believe we have the best health care in the world, but the statistics say otherwise. Perhaps this article should be required reading for every Congress member who’s out there trashing “foreign” systems.