Sunday, September 6, 2009

Atlantic healthcare article

This quote from the article How American Health Care killed My Father shows just how out of whack the incentive system in our health care system is:

the federal government spends eight times as much on health care as it does on education, 12 times what it spends on food aid to children and families, 30 times what it spends on law enforcement, 78 times what it spends on land management and conservation, 87 times the spending on water supply, and 830 times the spending on energy conservation. Education, public safety, environment, infrastructure—all other public priorities are being slowly devoured by the health-care beast.

Some of that is skewed. The federal government doesn't spend much on education, and there really is little sign that what it has spent has done much good. States are quite capable of handling education on their own and including the money they spend would likely close some of the health care-education gap. Still, education does a great deal to increase life spans(educated people live a lot longer than uneducated ones), and almost certainly more to increase our economic output than health care does.

This becomes an even bigger deal since health care spending is poorly directed to the uses that would help patients the most.

The rest of that article really understands the issue we face and is worth reading.

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