There has been a lot of talk about healthcare in the news recently, especially in regards to its reform. For the most part, these discussions center around coverage: who pays for it, who will get it and what that means for those who do? What seems to be missing from the discussion is an acknowledgment that a system that doesn’t hold the recipient at least partially responsible for the financial burden of their medical expenses is likely to fail.
The problem with America’s current system is evident with one look at its global performance. Though life expectancy is about the same in France, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States, the price of healthcare (as a percentage of Gross Domestic Products) varies greatly. According to the World Health Organization’s 2009 report, the U.S. pays over 15%, whereas France pays 11.2%, Sweden 9.2% and the United Kingdom 8.2%. We are paying more for what is essentially the same level of healthcare because our system encourages inflated costs.