Newspaper logo  
Local Stories, Events

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Books, Films, Arts & Education

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

02.22 Report: Climate Denier to Lead White House Climate Panel [“Stupid is as stupid does.” –Forrest Gump]

02.22 The Uninhabitable Earth [Lots more important than all other problems put together]

02.22 Europe faces 'biodiversity oblivion' after collapse in French birds, experts warn

02.22 World's food supply under 'severe threat' from loss of biodiversity

02.22 Venezuela crisis threatens disease epidemic across continent - experts

02.21 'Moment of reckoning': US cities burn recyclables after China bans imports

02.20 Young climate strikers can win their fight. We must all help

02.20 Voyage to the Garbage Patch: the female sailors taking on plastic

02.19 Bees brought Bavarians together. And they have a lesson for us all

02.19 Florida is drowning. Condos are still being built. Can't humans see the writing on the wall? [Fear that Trump & Fox News incite makes us avoid unpleasant information we need to know]

02.18 Tesla big battery is holding its own in a burgeoning energy storage market

02.18 Trump administration condemned over delaying action on toxic drinking water

02.16 New experimental drug rapidly repairs age-related memory loss and improves mood

02.16 Toxic black snow covers Siberian coalmining region [0:49 video; If its killing us, stop doing it]

02.16 Renewable energy will be world's main power source by 2040, says BP [But in America's capitalistic bubble, bribed-to-be-biased media and government defy reality]

02.16 My generation trashed the planet. So I salute the children striking back

02.16 US coastal businesses hit by everyday impact of climate change, study shows

02.16 What the pesticides in our urine tell us about organic food [What does inaction tell us about capitalism and our government?]

02.14 Exposure to Glyphosate-Based Herbicides and Risk for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: A Meta-Analysis and Supporting Evidence [If its killing us, make it illegal]

02.14 To avoid environmental catastrophe, everything must change [Consider why this headline is laughable or confusing to many, if not most, Americans...]02.13 Study Shows Toxic Pesticide Levels in Families Dropped by 60% After One-Week Organic Diet [2:10 video; Produce and canned vegetables laced with toxic chemicals—from fertilizers and herbicides, too—must be quickly phased out to use safe organic alternatives]

02.12 Biggest offshore windfarm to start UK supply this week

02.12 Scientists Are Totally Rethinking Animal Cognition

02.12 Politicians are complicit in the killing of our insects – we will be next

News Media Matters

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

02.22 So How's Your Tax Refund? Thanks to GOP Tax Scam, Big Banks Made Extra $28 Billion Last Year

02.21 Why Bernie Sanders Matters More Than People Think

02.21 Bezos Says Amazon Drones Ready to Deliver Mueller Report to Every American Household

02.21 Devin Nunes Was Trump’s Mole Inside the Gang of Eight

02.21 Alec Baldwin fears for family's safety after Trump 'retribution' threats [0:40 video]

02.20 Intimidation, Pressure and Humiliation: Inside Trump’s Two-Year War on the Investigations Encircling Him

02.20 ‘Sustained and ongoing’ disinformation assault targets Dem presidential candidates [If you can sense them, block them!]

02.20 The 2020 U.S. Presidential Race: A Cheat Sheet

02.20 Why Bernie Sanders' radicalism can take out Trump

02.20 Why vote for Sanders when you can have Elizabeth Warren instead?

Justice Matters

02.19 California Leads 16 States Suing to Block Trump Border Plan

02.19 Fighting pollution: Toledo residents want personhood status for Lake Erie [Hurrah!]

High Crimes?

02.20 Despite the slaughter in Yemen, Britain is still chasing arms sales [and the Great-Again-America is too...Capitalism without morality is horrible]

02.16 Elliott Abrams Defends War Crimes As Happening Back In The ’80s When Everyone Was Doing It

Economics & Corrupting-Capitalism

02.21 Historian who confronted Davos billionaires leaks Tucker Carlson rant

02.20 A Centuries-Old Idea Could Revolutionize Climate Policy

International & Futurism
Sanders Has an Advantage, and It’s Not [Just] About Economics

02.22 When multilateralism crumbles, so does our rules-based order [this enables easier corruption by banks and oligarchs and may result in complete societal breakdown, chaos and war]

02.22 Trump has turned foreign aid into shabby political theatre [Psychopaths are a sub-human species without empathy or morals.]

02.21 John Oliver Compares Brexit ‘Disaster’ to Will Smith’s Genie in Live-Action ‘Aladdin’ (Video) [21:26 video; we’re approaching an Idiocracy-type of society, where stupidity is “normal”]

02.20 House report lays bare White House feud over Saudi nuclear push [Its hard to keep up with all the criminal crap going on...]

02.20 My grandfather was a Nazi. I’ve seen why we need the EU

02.19 Centrism isn’t the solution to the mess we’re in

02.19 Renewables need urgent investment to ease Australia's transmission bottlenecks, experts warn

We are a non-profit Internet-only newspaper publication founded in 1973. Your donation is essential to our survival.

You can also mail a check to:
Baltimore News Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 42581
Baltimore, MD 21284-2581
This site Web
  U.S. Wastes over $1 Trillion a Year on Health Care Spending
Newspaper logo


U.S. Wastes over $1 Trillion a Year on Health Care Spending

Even worse, we're not getting any better quality of care for double the spending per person.

by Marc Cherbonnier
2 September 2009
US medical bill
Dozens of countries with better-rated health care systems would save us at least one $trillion a year every year, if we would just adopt one of their systems for ourselves. So why are we dithering?

The national health care debate in Washington and at Town Hall meetings around the country has been especially terrible because of the lack of focus on what the most important priorities of our future health care system should be. This isn't surprising, because our politicians and the media are dodging the most important issue, and the public doesn't know about it.

Do you know how much we spend per capita on health care in the U.S. when compared to our peers in other advanced countries? You should. Here are some examples:

The Japanese spend only 35% of what Americans pay ($2581 vs $7290). Those in the United Kingdom pay just 41% of what we pay. And the French, whose health care system is rated the best in the world, pay less than half of what we pay.

Now, you would think this excessive spending in the US would be a major issue, wouldn't you? But no, it's been hushed up. Why?

Do U.S. citizens get better health care than in these other countries? Not according to the World Health Organization's ranking of the world's health systems. The US ranks 37th in the world, between Costa Rica and Slovenia. The UK ranks 18th and Japan ranks 10th.

Given that US citizens aren't getting very good value for the huge amount they're spending, you would think cutting costs and improving quality would be an extremely important part of our public discussion. But strangely, it isn't. We're being diverted by divisive side issues.

How much money are we talking about here? Let's do some simple math. If we adopted the Japanese plan just as it is, the US savings per person per year would be $4709. Multiply that by our 300,000,000 citizens, and the savings amounts to $1,412,700,000,000 per year, every year. That's $1.4 trillion dollars. [Ref. Total spending on health care, per person, 2007]

If we adopted the United Kingdom's plan as-is, the savings would be $4298 per year per person, resulting in $1,289,400,000,000 savings per year, every year.

Dozens of countries with better-rated health care systems would save us at least one trillion a year every year, if we would just adopt one of their systems for ourselves. So why are we dithering? Think of the money we're wasting by dithering!

Sure, questions would need to be answered if we were to adopt another country's system, such as how much doctors and nurses would be paid, etc. We could tinker, and maybe spend a few billion more than our peers overall--but that would be a drop in the bucket compared to overall savings we can realize.

So why aren't we focusing on reducing our wildly excessive health care spending? We're talking huge money here.

So why aren't we focusing on reducing our wildly excessive health care spending? We're talking huge money here.

And who would get the savings if the US were to emulate one of its peer countries? Let's start with employers, who would benefit the most because they'd significantly reduce their costs for employee benefits. This would enable employers to give employees raises and/or reduce product costs and sell more products—thereby maybe hiring more US employees. Employees who now pay for all or part of their health care insurance coverage would pay less, so their net pay would be increased, and so the overall economy would benefit, too. The self-employed, who pay for 100% of their health insurance, would benefit handsomely, getting a effective annual raise of about $4,000 in disposable annual income ($8,000/yr. if they have family coverage). Retirees could avoid current co-pays and the cost of a Medicare Part B entirely.

We're paying more than twice as much as our peers in other countries and not even getting as good a level of health care quality. Regardless of political persuasion, we should all be steaming mad, and demanding parity.

Government, too, would benefit because its per-person spending for Medicare and Medicaid would likewise be reduced, perhaps by larger-insured-group negotiated price cuts and/or profit-margin-capping. This in turn would substantially reduce the system's projected unfunded liability for future years, thereby cutting back, and perhaps even reversing, the pace of deficit spending. Such government savings, in turn, could result in tax cuts, further stimulating the economy.

Here we are, paying more than twice as much as our peers in other countries and not even getting as good a level of health care quality for the money. Regardless of political persuasion, we should all be steaming mad, and demanding parity.

But unfortunately most of us don't realize this situation exists, because our media and politicians are allowing our attention to be diverted by more trivial, and more divisive, issues.

So—what's all that extra money we're spending going for? The usual pigs at the trough: for-profit insurance companies (who rake it in from malpractice premiums as well as from medical insurance policies), drug companies (who charge much more in the US than elsewhere for the same drugs), politicians, and the media (via all those ads).

Marc Cherbonnier, a systems analyst, is webmaster for the Baltimore Chronicle.

Copyright © 2009 The Baltimore News Network. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.

This story was published on September 2, 2009.


Public Service Ads: