The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Health Care Profits Gone Wild

Apr 1, 2013

Health care spending data for 2012 has been published by the International Federation of Health Plans. It shows exactly what has been true for as long as the data has been published: in the U.S. we pay many times what people pay in other rich countries on health care.

All health care spending in the U.S. amounts to one dollar out of every six of the yearly Gross Domestic Product. The average of the other rich countries in the world amounts to one dollar out of every eleven.

Just as bad is the power of the insurance companies to set prices and pay different amounts for exactly the same health care. Within the U.S., the range of prices can be four times as much or even TEN times as much – for exactly the same item in health care.

  • A routine visit to the doctor: Canada, $30; U.S., from $68 to $176.
  • Heart bypass surgery: Britain, $14,117; U.S., from $46,547 to $150,515.
  • Knee replacement: Britain, $7,833; U.S., from $16,473 to $52,451.
  • Normal birth: Britain, $2,641; U.S., from $7,262 to $16,653.
  • Celebrex, a drug prescribed for pain: Canada, $53; U.S., from $126 to $258.

Does anyone need more proof of the idiocy of a health care system on which we are forced to spend so much merely to maintain the obscene profits of this industry?