NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

American Health Care and American Productivity: An International Comparison

November 11, 2010

One of the great myths about American society is that our lack of a "universal" health plan harms our competitiveness, says John R. Graham, director of health care studies at the Pacific Research Institute and senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis.

Domestic critics claim that U.S. health care is a drag on productivity, but the United States is the world's most productive nation.

  • American productivity leads to much higher national income than in other countries, suggesting that our high health spending as a share of gross domestic product is not out of line.
  • After spending more on health care, the United States has more dollars per person to spend on all other goods and services than other countries do -- about $4,500 more than Canada; $5,000 more than Great Britain; $6,000 more than Germany; and $8,000 more than France.
  • ObamaCare, which massively increases government control of Americans' access to health care, threatens our productivity and general welfare.

Americans without the means to pay for health care are largely a consequence of misguided government intrusion.  Moreover, the American welfare state is capable of subsidizing those truly incapable of financial self-reliance, says Graham.

American crusaders for "universal" health care -- as opposed to universal choice in health care -- emphasize America's uniqueness in lacking this characteristic of the modern welfare state.  Given the benefits of America's productivity, perhaps it is a uniqueness we should not rush to abandon.

Source: John R. Graham, "American Health Care and American Productivity: An International Comparison," Pacific Research Institute, November 2010.

 

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