Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute has written an excellent policy analyis showing that the health care systems of other countries often don’t live up to the claims made for them by American advocates of government-run health care. His findings include the following:
Health insurance does not mean universal access to health care.
Rising health care costs are not a uniquely American phenomenon.
In countries emphasizing government control, patients face waiting lists and rationing.
The most successful nationalized systems incorporate market mechanisms.
One of the most interesting features of Tanner’s analysis is his international comparison of out-of-pocket patient spending. In 8 of the 12 countries examined, patients cough up more of their own money as percentage of total health care expenditures than we do in the U.S.
As shown on page 27 (figure 4), the citizens of Canada, Norway, Japan, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and Greece face higher out-of-pocket expenditures than Americans. Moreover, out-of-pocket expenditures in France and Germany are about the same as ours.
This is a long paper (about 35 pages, not including the notes), but it is well worth the time it takes to digest it.