Posted on June 24, 2014 at 2:29 PM
Every so often, it’s worth taking a look at how badly we’ve allowed ourselves to distort reality. We generally think that health care costs in the U.S. are about what they are in the rest of the world, or maybe just a bit worse. We seldom allow ourselves to see the true state of affairs. Accordingly, when a wake-up call comes along like the recent announcement from the Commonwealth Fund:
–we either don’t know what to do with it at all, or quickly look for someplace to hide.
Maybe a few Americans have an idea that health care costs more in the U.S. than elsewhere, and that we actually get less for what we spend here than elsewhere. But I rather doubt that most Americans realize just how bad it is—that people in two other advanced nations of the world pay as much as we do per person (actually, not quite so much) for health care.
The U.K. or Sweden or New Zealand or Australia
Canada or France or Germany
The remainder of the report is not terribly auspicious for the U.S. America often spends the most money and gets the worst results. A few areas show some modest improvement since the last time the people looked, but generally things are down in the cellar and mostly staying there.
Pharmaceutical costs play a relatively small role in the excessive costs of U.S. health care, making up only about 10 percent of American total health care costs. But the average American has no idea whatsoever of how incredibly pricey American health care is, compared to any other country.