Sunday, January 23, 2011

Healthcare Reality Check

The GOP House has voted to overturn the huge mess known as Obamacare. We'll see if it passes the Senate. Regardless, President Obama is not going to sign. So, the GOP is already starting work on replacing Obamacare with their own ideas.

What should the GOP propose? There are two countries that can guide us.

Switzerland undoubtedly has the best healthcare system in Europe. Singapore has the best healthcare system in the world. Switzerland spends about 10.8% of GDP on healthcare. Singapore spends less than 4%. Healthcare expenditures in the U.S. have ballooned to a whopping 16.5% of GDP.

Neither Switzerland or Singapore have the kind of "socialist" or "single payer" systems that enchant the know-nothings on the American left. In fact, public expenditures on healthcare as a percentage of the total is about the same in Switzerland and the U.S. The government spends a much lower percentage of the total in Singapore:

Switzerland -- 55%
United States -- 50% average, depending on the state
Singapore -- 34%

Why do their systems work to control and costs and ours doesn't? Singapore and Switzerland have similar philosophies -- they put people in charge of their own care, but they also require them to take responsibility.

In Singapore you are required to save 8% of you income for healthcare. You can use your health savings to buy insurance and pay for out-of-pocket expenses. The government subsidizes health savings for very low income people.

In Switzerland you are required to spend 8% of your own money on health insurance. The government subsidizes insurance payments for very low income people. Out of pocket expenses are additional.

Switzerland and Singapore have created nation's of healthcare shoppers, who use their own healthcare dollars wisely.

The problem in the U.S. is that Medicare, Medicaid, and employer paid insurance take financial responsibility away from individuals so people don't have any incentive to use medical services in a cost effective way.

I've been to Singapore. They have a great and very cost effective healthcare system. It cheaper than ours. They also have better outcomes than we do. ditto for Switzerland.

The answer to escalating healthcare costs in the U.S. is not to give more control to power hungry politicians and greedy bureaucrats. The answer is personal responsibility and personal control. Singapore and Switzerland have shown us the way. Are American politicians smart enough to follow? We'll see.

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