This graph (click here for a larger version), taken from the National Geographic, shows how various countries rank in terms of dollars spent on health care per person, average number of doctor visits per year, and average life expectancy. At first I didn’t understand it; I thought that the maybe the original graph excluded the United States and that it had been ineptly pencilled in. Then I saw the problem—our expenditures are nearly twice that of the country in second place (Switzerland), and more than three times the average. Yet our life expectancy is in the middle of the pack, and number of doctor visits at the bottom.
Again I make my tired old point: as long as health care costs are spiraling out of control, it doesn’t really matter what mechanism we use to pay them.