Skip to comments.Kerry’s health scare : Blaming Bush for a phantom problem
Posted on 08/20/2004 5:38:34 AM PDT by billorites
AMERICANS spend more on health care than the people of any other nation on earth, and its all George Bushs fault, according to John Kerry. The senator came to Derry yesterday to tell residents there how bad they have it in George Bushs America, where health care costs are rising so quickly. But are Americans really so bad off when it comes to health care?
In a news release yesterday, the Kerry campaign complained, Americans pay more per capita for health care than any other country. American spends $4,887 per capita on health expenditures compared to $3,160 in Switzerland, $2,792 in Canada and $1,992 in the United Kingdom.
Not only is this discrepancy not George Bushs fault, it is not necessarily bad. According to the journal Health Affairs, about 90 percent of the variation in levels of health spending among countries is explained by Gross Domestic Product. Countries with a higher standard of living spend more on health care. In the case of Americas $4,887 per-capita expenditure cited by Kerry, Health Affairs attributes 58 percent of that figure to Americas high GDP.
What might explain the other 42 percent? The exceptional quality of our health care professionals, for one. The highly trained and highly talented health professionals employed in health care must be recruited from the same talent pool used by other industries offering high compensation, such as law and finance, significantly marking up prices, notes Health Affairs.
Other factors include increased demand for health care, a proliferation of state mandates that insurers cover treatments for certain maladies, and the explosion in the use of prescription and over-the-counter medication. New drugs for treating everything from morning sickness to balding offer relief previously unavailable to millions of people suffering a variety of ailments. People are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on such drugs. And when drug prices do eventually drop, Americans buy more drugs, keeping total expenditures high.
Are health care costs rising out of control because President Bush occupies the Oval Office? No. Actual health care spending growth slowed last year to its lowest level in three years. Some of that slow-down was caused by a rise in co-pays. And that shows the huge flaw in Kerrys argument.
One of the reasons Americans spend so much on health care is that someone else pays almost all of their costs. Out of pocket expenses account for only a quarter of private health care expenditures in the United States, according to the World Health Organization. In effect, Americans are overconsuming health care services because the cost of those services is heavily subsidized by employers, insurers and government.
If Kerry wants the total costs to drop, the best way to do that is to increase consumers out-of-pocket expenses so people will spend less on health treatments they dont really need. But Kerrys solution is to increase government subsidies for health care, which will increase overall consumption and expenditures. In sum, he proposes to cut overall expenditures, which he says are too high, by implementing a plan that will result in more health care spending.
John Kerry clearly has no understanding of the economics of health care. He has pulled some numbers out of the air because he knew he could spin them to make President Bush look bad. But his miscomprehension of the issue has led him to offer solutions that not only would fail to accomplish his stated goal, but would fix nothing else, either.
Interesting to note that most of the bad press John Boy is getting is from the home team.
gee, Kerry had eight years with Clintoon to bring us all free medical care, but I guess he was more interested in serving on the Senate Intelligence Committee, not look into our free medical care...
ooops, he seems to have missed most of those meetings, too...ooops, he dropped the ball on the security problems at Logan Airport before 9/11, too...ooops, he must have been working hard on those pieces of legislature he sponsored over 20 years, he actually got 2 bills passed with his name on them (national water your plants day? call your mother day?)
And you have to wait six months for an MRI!
And the most of it is because of those scum sucking lawyers like John Edwards who are driving up costs by their lawsuits.
Are you causing problems here? (See title)
DING, DING, DING!!!!
Yes --- that sounds about right -- and it is a problem --- we spend about $5,000 each even if we never go to a doctor and are in perfect health. The democrats obviously don't have a solution, their problem with this $4,887 per capita is they think that's far too low --- after all there are "poor" people who aren't getting enough free health care.
It's Edwards' fault!!
Though, we'd wind up paying even more in the end.
"John Kerry clearly has no understanding of the economics of health care."
Or, fighting a war on terror, or economic growth in america, etc... etc... etc.. Everything that John Kerry says is spun to make GW look bad...
My work can be found all over.
Are the numbers quoted out of pocket expenses??
How about the amount the gov't subsidizes the medical expenses?? Maybe that is the gov'ts part, since I thought they had "free" health care in Canada and GB.
Yes!! Thank you!!!!
I was so mad when I saw Lurch's new commercial about health care yesterday. Started screaming at the TV - "High healthcare costs because of YOUR running mate!!"
Had an article in our local liberal rag last week about doctors not wanting to deliver babies anymore because of the high insurance rates. Not ONE mention of John Edwards - of course!!
Okay, John, here is the definitive word about the economics of healthcare: EVERYBODY WANTS SOMEBODY ELSE TO PAY FOR THEIR HEALTHCARE.
The problem is that there are not very many out there that think as we do. Libility insurance costs are driving a lot of doctors out of business. Plus that same cost is build into everything from drugs to health care devices.
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