With our health care system once again up for grabs the idea of single payer health care, or Medicare for all, is gaining favor. I often hear people sympathetic to single payer health care say that people in other countries don’t mind paying more in taxes to provide access to health care for all of their citizens. My question is, “Pay more than who?” Not us. According to OECD data, U.S. government expenditures for health care are among the highest in the world at $4,669 per capita. (Adding in insurance premiums, co-pays, cash payments, etc., total expenditures are $9,451.) Canada’s government expenditures are $3,262; the U.K.’s are $3,162. We’re paying for government provided universal health care, we’re just not getting it. On the government side we have Medicare, Medicaid, the VHA, TriCare, FEHB, CHIPS, state and local employees’ benefits. Then we have a multitude of private insurance companies, each with multiple plans to choose from. Canada has Medicare. The U.K. has the National Health Service. One system for all citizens at half the cost. What a concept.
Geoff Burns, McCall