Be sure to look at comment #4...


Why not pay more for less?

First, three points:

1.  Health care costs will drive the long-run federal deficit.
2.  Our current health care system is one of the lowest international performers.
3.  We spend more on health care than anybody.

For more on that second point , here's Ezra Klein (link) quoting from the most recent commonwealth fund report (link):

But even with all that spending, "the U.S. ranks last overall, as it did in the 2007, 2006, and 2004 editions of Mirror, Mirror. Most troubling, the U.S. fails to achieve better health outcomes than the other countries, and as shown in the earlier editions, the U.S. is last on dimensions of access, patient safety, coordination, efficiency, and equity. The Netherlands ranks first, followed closely by the U.K. and Australia."

The issue isn't just that we don't have universal health care. Our delivery system underperforms, too. "Even when access and equity measures are not considered, the U.S. ranks behind most of the other countries on most measures. With the inclusion of primary care physician survey data in the analysis, it is apparent that the U.S. is lagging in adoption of national policies that promote primary care, quality improvement, and information technology."

As we begin to see health care change over the next five years, it will be very important to keep an eye on these metrics.  If the US doesn't find a way to improve, more change will absolutely be necessary.

Here are some illustrative charts from Ezra's post: