The U.S. spends 15.5% of its gross domestic product on health care, about $1.7 trillion a year. No other country comes close. Yet for all that money - equal to the entire economic output of France - approximately 45 million Americans go without health insurance.A columnist for the Daily News is making a pitch for single-payer! If I didn't know better, I'd call this a tipping point. But since I do, I'll just thank Mr Schwartz for covering the event.
By the way, in France, which on a per capita basis spends about half what we do on health care, everyone is insured. In fact, under France's universal health system, patients can visit doctors, even specialists, virtually any time they wish.
That explains why thousands of New Yorkers will be converging at scores of sites across the city today to kick off "Cover the Uninsured Week," a nationwide effort to focus attention on the millions of uninsured Americans.
It's a uniquely American event, since in the rest of the industrialized world, where universal coverage is the norm, health care is considered a basic human right. But in the 50 United States, I guess health care is a frill. It shows. We're only No. 22 among industrialized nations in life expectancy (77 years). Japan is No. 1 at 81 years. We're No. 25 in infant mortality rate (6.8 infant deaths per 1,000 births). Sweden leads with only 3.5 deaths per 1,000.
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Think shifting health spending entirely onto the shoulders of Uncle Sam won't make a difference? Wrong. National health would save us nearly $250 billion a year on administration alone. That's the difference between the 20% we spend on administration versus the 4% to 7% nations like France, Britain and Canada spend.
Richard Schwartz of New York's Daily News helps New Yorkers kick off "Cover the Uninsured Week". (Thanks ALPF. I went back to the source.) In "One Nation, Uninsured," he writes: