Health Care Costs: The US Could Pay Less and Get More

I did a bit of Google research to get the facts.  It’s not hard, anybody can do it. For perspective I looked at what we pay for defense, how much we spend private pay healthcare, and how much gets burned up by admin costs. Here’s what I found:

US Military Budget= about $700 Billion (includes certain extra appropriations for combat expenses)

US Private Sector Healthcare Administration (@ 19% of $2.1 Trillion)= $400 Billion (that’s the paperwork and CEO pay, not the nurse/Doctor part)
To get the scale of this number, note that the healthcare industry’s admin costs exceed the total bill for military payroll, or military procurement, or the total budget of any one of the four branches of the armed services.  That’s a lot of freaking paper shuffling!
For the big picture let’s use the entire US economy as context:
  • The US Military is 3.5% of the US Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
  • The US Healthcare Industry is 17.1% or about 5X the above defense spending.
  • All Federal, all State and all Local taxes add up to 24.8% of GDP.
Even with all of its top-heavy “government” inefficiency, we have the best military in the world .  Our healthcare rank is mediocre, around 37th, despite an army of expensive private sector executive administrative “talent.”
If you add the 17.1% for health to today’s 24.8% for all other taxes,  you get 41.9%, or about what the countries with top ranking “free” government healthcare pay in taxes as a percent of GDP.
Friends, there is no free lunch; if our taxes don’t pay for your healthcare, you the consumer pay for it directly … plus a 19% vigorish for the corporate suits!
NY Times Editorial

Don’t trust me, Google it and do the math yourself.  Next read this editorial from the NY Times: Health Care Myths (click)