The following is taken from a great article by Ezra Klein:
Our government spends more on health care than the governments of Japan, Australia, Norway, the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Canada or Switzerland.
Think about that for a minute. Canada has a single-payer health-care system. The government is the only insurer of any note. The United Kingdom has a socialized system, in which the government is not only the sole insurer of note but also employs most of the doctors and nurses and runs most of the hospitals. And yet, measured as a share of the economy, our government health-care system is the largest of the bunch.
And it’s worse than that: Atop our giant government health-care sector, we have an even more giant private health-care sector. Altogether, we’re spending about 16 percent of the GDP on health care. No other country even tops 12 percent. Which means we’ve got the worst of both worlds: huge government and high costs.
This is where a “serious conversation” on health-care costs would start — with what has worked, and what we can learn from it. Instead, it’s where our conversation about health-care costs never quite goes.
The Republican plan, in fact, heads in the opposite direction: The GOP outsources Medicare to private insurers and gives senior citizens checks that cover less and less of the cost of insurance every year.
The Democratic plan, conversely, quietly recognizes that government-run health-care systems that are willing to throw their weight around can control costs. So the plan is to have Medicare try to pay for quality, not volume.