Daniel J. Mitchell
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What government spends the most on health care?

  • Is it Canada or the United Kingdom, which are famous (or, if these stories are any indication, infamous would be a better description) for single-payer healthcare systems?
  • Is it Sweden, the home of the cradle-to-grave welfare state?
  • Or France, the land of the world’s most statist people?
  • How about Italy or Greece, nations that have spent themselves into fiscal crisis?

Nope, nope, nope, and nope.

The United States spends more money, on a per-capita basis, than any of those countries. Here’s a chart from a Forbes analysis prepared by Doug Holtz-Eakin and Avik Roy.

Per Capita Government Healthcare Spending

There are three big reasons why there’s more government-financed healthcare spending in the United States.

1. Richer nations tend to spend more, regardless of how they structure their healthcare systems.

2. As you can see at the 1:18 mark of this video, the United States is halfway down the road to a single-payer system thanks to programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.

3. America’s pervasive government-created third-party payer system leads to high prices and costly inefficiency.

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Daniel J. Mitchell

Daniel J. Mitchell is a top expert on tax reform and supply-side tax policy at the Cato Institute.
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