Battlepanda: United States of Suckers


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

United States of Suckers

I think that many of you who pay attention to health policy probably knows as a in a bullet point kind of way that the US spends much more on healthcare on a per capita basis than any other country, but this graph I came across today at a forum discussing Taiwan's National Health Insurance scheme illustrates the point nicely:
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Note: the dark purple is the public expenditure and the light purple is the private expenditure, which means that our public expenditure per capita already exceeds that of many, nay, most OECD countries with big gubmint care. I'm sure that's not news to most of you either, but again, it's nice to see it in a picture -- yep, your government spend more taxpayer dollars per person on healthcare than the French, but you can't have universal healthcare like they do because that'll be all socialist.

Taiwan's not on the graph, but it would probably be between Korea and Poland if it were.

By the way, I spent most of today at a forum that delved deep into the many dysfunctions of Taiwan's National Health Insurance system. It's a messy morasse of issues technocratic, bureaucratic and political. Dark stuff, but the speakers knew that they can always work the crowd over for a cheap laugh by making fun of the US system. "Ha ha. Americans lose face because they're the richest country in the world and they don't even have healthcare for all their citizens" "*Snigger* They pay more then anybody else, but their life expectancy is lower than the OECD average." "Pay no attention to the lame outlier on that GDP per capita versus healthcare expenditure per capita chart. That's America. They're...special."

Maybe that's what it would take to get the US public with the universal healthcare program -- ads of people all over the developed and semi-developed world laughing at us.

Or think of it this way: If a graft-happy not-quite-developed nation of hypochondriacs where they haven't even figured out how to make the pavement all one level in the capital city has got universal health insurance, I really do think it is within reach of the United States. We can do eet!*

*But not before the Democrats get control of all three branches of government.**

**And not like this.