Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, in a recent op-ed effectively points the finger at the real culprit responsible for our expensive and dysfunctional healthcare system: the private sector.
Right-wingers, insurance companies, and other opponents of health care reform in the United States are always looking for ways to blame the government for the failures of our health care system. But the simple truth is that they have it backwards: our problems with health care are firmly rooted in the private sector. That is why the average high-income country – where government is vastly more involved in health care – spends half as much per person on health care as we do, and has better health outcomes.
That is why even Medicare – which has to pay for health care services and drugs at costs inflated by our dysfunctional private health care sector – has still proven to be much more efficient than private insurance. As Nobel Laureate economist Paul Krugman recently pointed out, from 1969 -2009, Medicare spending per person rose 400 percent, adjusted for inflation; private insurance premiums, also adjusted for inflation, rose 700 percent.
Weisbrot supports expanding Medicare to everyone as the BEST way to make health care more affordable. He is right. It’s way past time to turn our backs on a failed ideology rooted in greed, and instead get serious about solving this crisis.