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US Near The Bottom In OOP Health Spending Percentage

05/06/11

  12:50:06 pm, by MedBen5   , 228 words,  
Categories: Announcements, Health Plan Management

US Near The Bottom In OOP Health Spending Percentage

Megan McArdle of The Atlantic recently published an interesting chart that we thought we’d share with you here. The chart appears in an response to a piece by columnist Paul Krugman in which he criticizes consumer-driven health plans because, among other reasons, most individuals lack the medical knowledge to make informed life-and-death decisions – and anyway, such decisions should not be made on the basis of money.

In McArdle’s article, she argues that many care choices aren’t quite so dramatic and do allow thoughtful consideration before a decision is reached. Moreover, a government-run health care system will make decisions based on money much more than individuals would.

And the chart? Krugman says that “America has the most ‘consumer-driven’ health care system in the advanced world. It also has by far the highest costs yet provides a quality of care no better than far cheaper systems in other countries.” To which McArdle answers, “The US isn’t even close to being the leader in consumer-driven medicine, if by that you mean cost-sharing and purchasing decisions; in the rich world, that would almost certainly be Switzerland, where patients not only pay heavily out of pocket [OOP], but purchase their own insurance.”

As you can see below, the US is actually closer to the bottom of the list in its percentage of total OOP health spending for wealthy countries, based on 2007 data:

Percetnage of Total Health Spending Out of Pocket

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