January 7, 2020

GOOD MONEY AFTER BAD:

Every American family basically pays an $8,000 'poll tax' under the U.S. health system, top economists say (Heather Long, Jan. 7, 2020, washington Post)

The U.S. health-care system is the most expensive in the world, costing about $1 trillion more per year than the next-most-expensive system -- Switzerland's. That means U.S. households pay an extra $8,000 per year, compared with what Swiss families pay. Case and Deaton call this extra cost a "poll tax," meaning it is levied on every individual regardless of their ability to pay. ("Polle" was an archaic German word for "head," so the idea behind a poll tax is that it falls on every head.)

Despite paying $8,000 more a year than anyone else, American families do not have better health outcomes, the economists argue. Life expectancy in the United States is lower than in Europe.

"We can brag we have the most expensive health care. We can also now brag that it delivers the worst health of any rich country," Case said.

Case and Deaton, a Nobel Prize winner in economics, made the critical remarks about U.S. health care during a talk at the American Economic Association's annual meeting, where thousands of economists gather to discuss the health of the U.S. economy and their latest research on what's working and what's not.

Posted by at January 7, 2020 1:46 PM

  

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