Wednesday, January 9, 2013
A very nice article in today's New York Times by Eduardo Porter lays out in clinical fashion the failures of for-profit health care in the US (and the failure of reliance on for-profit entities for other essential services, too). Although the data about high costs, populations without access, and poor quality even for those who have access are well known, Porter presents them starkly. One of the best-taken points in the article is Porter's comparison between the tax burden in countries where health care is viewed largely as a public responsibility and what we ought to see as the tax burden in the United States, if we just added health insurance premiums in as an additional tax: "In a way, private delivery of health care misleads Americans about the financial burdens they must bear to lead an adequate existence. If they were to consider the additional private spending on health care as a form of tax — an indispensable cost to live a healthy life — the nation’s tax bill would rise to about 31 percent from 25 percent of the nation’s G.D.P. — much closer to the 34 percent average across the O.E.C.D."