Report: U.S. Healthcare a Rip-Off, Hurts Business

From the Associated Press, via the Washington Post:


If the global economy were a 100-yard dash, the U.S. would start 23 yards behind its closest competitors because of health care that costs too much and delivers too little, a business group says in a report to be released Thursday.

The report from the Business Roundtable, which represents CEOs of major companies, says America's health care system has become a liability in a global economy.

Concern about high U.S. costs has existed for years, and business executives -- whose companies provide health coverage for workers -- have long called for getting costs under control. Now President Barack Obama says the costs have become unsustainable and the system must be overhauled.

Americans spend $2.4 trillion a year on health care. The Business Roundtable report says Americans in 2006 spent $1,928 per capita on health care, at least two-and-a-half times more per person than any other advanced country.

In a different twist, the report took those costs and factored benefits into the equation.

It compares statistics on life expectancy, death rates and even cholesterol readings and blood pressures. The health measures are factored together with costs into a 100-point "value" scale. That hasn't been done before, the authors said.

The results are not encouraging.

The United States is 23 points behind five leading economic competitors: Canada, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom and France. The five nations cover all their citizens, and though their systems differ, in each country the government plays a much larger role than in the U.S.

The cost-benefit disparity is even wider  -- 46 points -- when the U.S. is compared with emerging competitors: China, Brazil and India.

Read the entire article here.

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