VARNDEAN-L ArchivesArchiver > VARNDEAN > 2003-01 > 1042756236
From: Phil Allsopp <>
Subject: Re: Jobs for the boys
Date: Thu, 16 Jan 2003 16:30:36 -0600
Today in the US we spend about $5,000 per capita per annum on health care.
That translates into $1.3 Trillion per annum or nearly 15% of the GDP.
Adjusting for GDP per capita productivity differences and currency exchange
rates (never a precise way of doing things but....) the UK spends about
$1,200 per capita per annum. That's less than half of what we spend on the
over 65's in the US. Assuming that a good 30% of our spend is waste and
unnecessary inefficiencies (and believe me in my line of business I see
numbers of this magnitude every day), we still spend a lot more on health
care than the UK does. The interesting thing - for me, that is - is that
of the WHO indicators (infant mortality, post operative infection rates, ,
life expectancy, mortality, morbidity etc. etc.) the two countries vying for
17th and 18th places in the league tables are the UK and the US. Now
there's bang for the buck if you are looking at pure quantitative outcome
measures. In the quality of care side however, there are glaring
The UK does spend very real money on health care. 5% or 6% of any developed
country's GDP is nothing to sneeze at. Its just that there is a giant delta
between what we spend here and what the UK chooses to spend. The
differences are probably in shorter waiting lists (lengthening them as in
the UK can cause "benign" conditions to go critical and more costly),
superior physical amenities in hospitals and choice of provider, hospital
and with whom we buy our insurance from.
You are right John about knowing what things cost. We also get nailed with
stiff co-pays so that doing things (diet, exercise, alcohol etc.) to stay
out of hospital for as long as possible or stay within a particular band of
risk to keep premiums down are also a powerful incentives.
> That seems to suggest that health costs in the UK are small, or, even,
> do not exist. We pay - through National Insurance - about the same as
> you pay to Blue Cross or whoever for your insurance. I don't doubt the
> treatment costs the same or approximates to it. The thing that is wrong
> in the UK compared to the US is that you know how much your health care
> costs and we do not. If people got bills for their treatment - albeit
> with no money to pay - it might concentrate their minds. Having lived
> under the two systems my major criticism would be that we do pay about
> the same as under a private/insurance scheme but we do not get the same
> treatment. Also, knowing how much everything cost when I lived in a
> country with a private system made me respect what was done.
|Re: Jobs for the boys by Phil Allsopp <>|