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An Opportunity for America's Healthcare Spending

An Opportunity for America's Healthcare Spending
America has the largest economy in the world, and our individual states generate more economic output than other leading global national economies. New York's GDP is similar to South Korea. Kentucky looks like New Zealand.

 

America's Healthcare Spending

We’re good at creating. At building. At making.

 

But we're undisputed morons when it comes to healthcare spending. And this might be the biggest opportunity of our generation.

 

Victor Fuchs, Stanford University emeritus professor of economics and policy, famously said:

"If we solve our healthcare spending, practically all of our fiscal problems go away." And if we don't, "Then almost anything else we do will not solve our fiscal problems."

In 2017, we spent more per person on healthcare than 11 other high-income nations. By a lot. The next highest spender was Switzerland, and we spent 23% more per person than them.

 

If all this spending made us healthier, maybe we'd be okay with it. But it doesn't. Our life expectancy is lower than our peers. Our rates of chronic conditions, obesity, and infant mortality are higher. We’re paying for a Ferrari and driving home in a Yugo.

 

Higher healthcare spending means lower salaries and less saving for retirement. Worse healthcare outcomes means lower GDP growth because people aren’t making things.

 

Congress debates education spending, military spending, and infrastructure spending. They hotly debate welfare spending. Reallocating fractions of percentages. But…

"If we solve our healthcare spending, practically all of our fiscal problems go away." And if we don't, "Then almost anything else we do will not solve our fiscal problems."

If Professor Fuchs is right, this is the biggest opportunity of our generation. We don’t even have to get good at healthcare spending to free up hundreds of billions of dollars to invest in other areas.

 

We just have to not be the worst.

 

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