Letter to the editor | Health care by the numbers

July 13, 2013 

“Affordable Care Act still has a few holes” by Diana Wagman (CDT, Wednesday) was right on.

It illustrates in specific terms how our government just kicked the can down the road in 2010.

The endless, mind-numbing debate back in 2009 did not really alter the fact that the United States is still the only country in the developed world without a universal health care system.

It’s really not complicated. You only need to keep in mind three numbers: 1, 2 and 37.

We are No. 1 in the world in cost, spending $2.8 trillion - more than $8,000 a person -- which is approaching 20 percent of GDP.

The cost per American is two times the average cost per person in the rest of the developed world.

The U.S. is ranked 37th in overall quality and performance by the World Health Organization.

Why can’t our “system” be substantially changed or reformed? Because it’s just too lucrative for the vested interests positioned to take in that extra $1.4 trillion, and our political process is too compromised to act in the people’s best interests.

Stephen Brill laid this out brilliantly in a March 4 Time magazine article. I recommend it highly.

While the politics of the debate spin fruitlessly around who will or won’t pay the bills, we rarely ask why everything costs so much and why there is so little transparency in the marketplace.

To sort this conundrum out in true journalistic fashion, Brill recommends that we just need to “follow the money.”

Then it does get complicated.

Bill Butler

Julian

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