the following is an update I made to my “Health Care” page. If there is any mention to examples/tables please take a peek at this page.
I looked into this update yesterday and was really surprised by it. Please have a look and see what you think; I hope I havent made any mistakes. Data sources are included at bottom.
Update-1 13 Sept. 2008
USA Private healthcare is significantly more expensive than nationalised healthcare based on percentage of GDP, by about 5% in these examples.
That means if the USA switched to a nationalised system it would save about 5% of its GDP every year and at the same time give everyone access to full healthcare. What would this mean for the USA as a whole?
The financial aspects are clear; from the data here for year 2007 the USA GDP was $13,815,008,000,000 (nearly $14trillion!). Healthcare costs were 15.2% of GDP or £2,099,881,216,000 (over $2trillion!) for 2007. If this cost was reduced by 5% of GDP to nationalised healthcare levels it would save $690,750,400,000 (nearly $700billion!) in 2007 and similar amounts every year!
Approximately half of that saving would be made by the government directly, giving it an additional $350billion every year to play with. Could cut taxes, build more hospitals, further research & technology, etc. These benefits would be huge. Increasing research could lead to fantastic breakthroughs in medicine, science and technology that would put the USA into warp-drive and send it streaking forward.
The other half of the $700billion saved would belong to US citizens (who pay insurance companies and make direct payments); you guys would have another $350billion per year to spend folks! How does that sound?
To give this figure some perspective, the GLOBAL loss due to the subprime debacle is put at $435billion as of July 2008. Whereas the amount saved by the USA in a single year using nationalised healthcare would be $700billion; enough to save the whole world from the subprime recession.
Another way to look at it is to consider the USA national debt, currently in the region of $9.7trillion. At a saving of $700billion per year (0.7trillion) that is equivalent to over 7% of the current national debt saved per year.
Hand-in-hand with the huge financial benefits hinted at above, adopting a nationalised health care system would provide every citizen with full health care cover, when they need it and as often as they need it. No extra costs.
I dont ignore for one second that within nationalised healthcare there are some acute cases were treatment is not delivered or delayed. No healthcare system can provide every best treatment to every individual immediately.
But a national system is effectively a private system but with the profit aspect removed. Its objective is to help people, not make a profit. It also would allow everyone access to a high level of healthcare.
This would be of immediate benefit to nearly 50million Americans without health insurance. Thats 1 out every 6 people!
But even those with health insurance would feel a huge benefit; no longer having to worry about selling their house to pay for medical treatment, working 3 jobs, or choosing partial treatment becase it is the cheapest. When sick all there would be to think about is getting better and not about the bills that may drop in the mail.
The people would be kept physically and mentally healthier. There is a good chance that in addition to making US citizens healthier and happier this would also make them more productive, since rested, happy and healthy workers often do more and faster.
I was curious about different healthcare systems in various countries. Seeing the number of comments on this website related to costs in the USA made me look at the USA first. I was surprised when I saw the figures. Even if not exact their implication is clear.
The USA healthcare system has a profound impact on the health of the people of the USA but also on the strength of the USA as a country competing in the world.
The effect of the current US healthcare system compared to using a nationalised one is to divert every year an incredible amount of cash that could be spent elsewhere, or saved for a rainy day. Something like $700billion could be saved every year, while increasing the health service to include all citizens with no bills when treated.
Not only does the current private system fail to deliver full healthcare to all U.S. citizens but it is costing 50% more than some of the best national systems.
In short, the current US healthcare system is actually weakening the USA as a nation, but providing a few individuals or businesses with huge profits. Good for them but not for the country as a whole, I would say.
If the USA was a sprinter its healthcare system would be running shoes made of gold and diamonds; the US jeweller makes a mint but the sprinter may as well be wearing shoes made of lead.
A well implemented nationalised health care system would provide full healthcare for all, be 33% cheaper and free the USA to leap ahead.
USA national debt