Thursday, July 19, 2007

Take a Number

According to the Brooking's Institute, health care in the U.S. consumes almost 15% of the GDP. They further speculate that by 2040 health care will consume fully one third of the GDP unless something changes.

Perhaps the U.S. can do what the Brit's have done and ration health care.

One approach, used in Britain for many years, is rationing. This brief examines many of the issues involved with rationing health care by applying its principles to radiology, using examples from the budgetlimited British health system. There, policymakers and medical providers routinely grapple with two difficult and value-laden questions: How much should be spent on the expensive but life saving technology? And how much should be spent on very costly research to evaluate that investment?

An argument that appears quite often is the amount spent on health care in the U.S. as a percent of GDP when compared to other countries. This report (albeit from 2001) shows the U.S. spending 14% of GDP compared to 9.5%, 9.7% and 7.6% respectively for France, Canada & the U.K.

Since these other countries supposedly have better results by spending less then the solution seems simple.

Either we ration care like they do in the U.K., or we use 40% fewer medical services, or simply persuade the medical providers to accept 40% less than they do now.

Seems simple enough.

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