Monday, August 17, 2009

The Only Healthcare Debate - The Numbers

I think this debate can be had by simply looking at the numbers. People keep referring to these "other" nationalized health care systems like Canada, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and France as examples. Typically the right will demonize them as socialist-commie-bastards who give their elderly cyanide tablets and shoot their cancer patients with a $0.99 bullet. As a person who actually knows the numerical facts, this has really been getting on my nerves, especially since the left are too wimpy to actually stand up and defend these national health care systems. I thought it was about time to see just how "bad" Canada, et al are actually faring. I highly recommend you read this Krugman editorial from NYTimes on the debate.

Firstly, I will be looking at the United States, Canada, the UK, France, and Switzerland.
How much does each of these countries pay in health care per year?

United States of America - 15.3% of GDP (#2 of all countries), $7,439 per capita (2007), 27.8% of the population covered by gov't but pays ~44.7% of the total cost due to the uninsured, medicare, and medicaid, 15.3% of pop uninsured (2007)
Switzerland-11.6% of GDP, $4,629 per capita (2008 est), 25% funded by gov't, 0.5% uninsured
Canada- 10.6% of GDP, $5,170 per capita (2008), 71% funded by gov't, 0% uninsured
United Kingdom- 9.4% GDP (2006), $2,560 per capita (2007), too much work for the rest of the statistics, UK is broken down by providence so it was difficult to get straight answers
France - 11.2% of GDP, $3,926 per capita (2005), 77% funded by government, 0% uninsured
(from Wikipedia, and various sources in the interwebs)

Now lets ask about the quality of care. I mean if we are paying the most, and since all those other countries are shooting their old and sick, then we should have the best health right?

The two major indicators of health of a population are infant mortality rates and life expectancy, as the very young and very old are the most helped/hindered by good/bad health care systems.

Life Expectancy (from Wolfram Alpha):
1 Canada | 81.23  
2 France | 80.98 
3 Switzerland | 80.85  
4 United Kingdom | 79.01  
5 United States | 78.11 (in years)

Infant Mortality rate (under 5yrs old deaths/1000 people- Wolfram Alpha 2009):
1 | France | 3.33 
2 | Switzerland | 4.18 
3 | United Kingdom | 4.85 
4 | Canada | 5.04 
5 | United States | 6.26

So, now, I have to ask, what do you think of the people who vilify all of these country's health care systems? What is the debate? There is no debate! We spend the most, and get the least- this means that something has to change. Personally, I think we should look to Canada and Switzerland as role models because they still have private healthcare. I know that this sounds like a lie, but it is true, look it up, health care insurance is provided by private enterprises in those two countries. The only difference between theirs and ours is that tax payers pick up a portion of it, and well, their health care system actually works, based upon the numbers.

1 comment:

Liz said...

Good work Jesse!