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Universal Health Care: What the United States Somehow Can’t Afford Even Though We Have Already Paid For It, and Then Some

I recently came across this data from the OECD, on comparative health expenditures by country as a percent of GDP.

The data by financing scheme divides health expenditures into two categories: government/compulsory and voluntary/out of pocket.  The data shows that in the United States, the compulsory/government expenditures alone equaled 14.2% of GDP.  That compares with total health care expenditures at 10.8% of GDP in Canada, 12.1% in Switzerland, 11.7% in Germany, 11.2% in France, 10.3% in the UK, 11.1% in Japan and 10.9% in Sweden.  Those developed countries all have some kind of universal health care, albeit in widely differing systems.  And all have aging populations, many to a greater extent than the U.S. 

And yet we are told by so-called Republicans/conservatives that we can’t afford the added taxpayer cost of “socialist” universal health care, and by so-called Democrats/progressives that we would need to pay even more in taxes to get it – or even to just keep what we already have.  Why?  Not because of ideology.  Because both parties are in the pockets of special interests who benefit from this situation as it is.  Both parties includes, by the way, the Democrats.

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