What does this mean? In my opinion we pay for the worlds health care. Yes. "America Alone" (to borrow a phrase from Mark Steyn.) pays for everybody's heart transplant, everyone's cancer treatment, everyone's new hip, everyone's HIV/AIDS drugs... on the planet.
I confidently make that statement for two reasons. One obvious, one a little more sophisticated.
First, the obvious. No country donates more money, more drugs, more doctors, more care to the world. Our capitalist system not only pays for our individual families needs, but supplies such excess that we can give to churches, charities, and other organizations to provide for the need of both our citizens and citizens of the world. Our doctors give up their time overseas on service. In my own church congregation we have a doctor who travels, on behalf of the church, to places like Syria to provide care and teach local doctors.
We also provide the most doctors in the world. We teach the world's doctors in our medical school and export that knowledge and expertice to benefit everyone.
Now a little less obvious. We literally pay for all the worlds drugs. Because of our profit system here in America, more life saving drugs and drug companies are created here than anywhere else. More people are saved because of profits than any good intentions ever saved.
So now it comes to costs. Really the question is who pays for these costs. As I mentioned, profits, quite literally, save people's lives. So we must ensure that medical care is profitable. Unfortunately not every country in the world has the same values that made America the greatest country in the world. They cap how much drug companies can charge for their drugs. They cap how much doctors can make. This means that those costs have to be made up somewhere. And here is where the US comes in. Drug companies and doctors aren't capped prices in America go up to make up that difference. As more countries clamp down, we end up paying more to subsidize these life saving drugs. It's a vicious cycle.
This is an aspect of economics that I don't hear enough people talk about. If President Obama wants to truly lower costs and help distribute health care to more and more people, the best thing he can do is champion freedom and capitalism everywhere he can. This will both allow innovation in health care and, more importantly, it will distribute the costs more widely, making the overall burdon less on US insurance companies and US citizens.
Unfortunately if the President is a true disciple of "statism" and his objective is to concentrate more power in the federal government. Then the idea of "lowering costs" and providing health care to "all Americans" is just a ruse for the true intentions of the President. Only he can really answer that question, though.
- Think men, think!