mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
ACA Amnesia
The New Liberal Line: The ACA Is Not About Costs
Features Icon
show comments
  • Andrew Allison

    This is a recording: single-payer LEGISLATION failed in Vermont. TAI is blatantly misrepresenting single-payer health insurance issues. Let me reiterate that I am not a partisan for single-payer, just for honest commentary.

    • Fat_Man

      I believe that your statement: “USA is almost alone among developed countries in not providing national single-payer insurance” is not correct. My understanding is that the Swiss system and some other Continental systems have multiple insurers and work somewhat like Obamacare would have worked if it had been designed by people other than the Democrats in Congress.

      You have also said that “the cost of healthcare in said countries is about half that in the USA” The following is a table from the latest OECD health statistics

      I have removed the countries that are substantially less prosperous than the US, such as Mexico, and Estonia.

      Total expenditure on health per capita in US$ at purchasing power parity
      Amount % of US
      Australia 3997 46%
      Austria 4896 56%
      Belgium 4419 51%
      Canada 4602 53%
      Denmark 4698 54%
      Finland 3559 41%
      France 4288 49%
      Germany 4811 55%
      Japan 3649 42%
      Luxembourg 4578 52%
      Netherlands 5099 58%
      New Zealand 3172 36%
      Norway 6140 70%
      Sweden 4106 47%
      Switzerland 6080 70%
      United Kingdom 3289 38%
      United States 8745

      Many of them are around 50% of the US level. However, I note that Switzerland and Norway, the two countries closest to the US in per capita income, spend at 70% of the US level. Health care is a luxury good and rich countries, like rich people spend more on it.

      Your final assertion is that “outcomes are better”. I don’t have convenient data sets to look at outcomes. I do know that numbers such as infant mortality are collected differently in different countries. The US includes premies in its infant mortality statistics, but many other countries don’t.

      • Andrew Allison

        Single-payer is generally accepted to mean a system in which the state mandates insurance coverage for all residents (Google “countries with single-payer health insurance”). However, unlike the ACA “mandate” the Swiss mandate has teeth: a 50% surcharge on premiums and jail time for lying about one’s coverage. As a result, the number of non-participants is very low. As of last September, the number of Americans without insurance had fallen by just 8% thanks to ACA, leaving about 13% of the overall population uninsured.

        • Fat_Man

          I did what you suggested and here is what I got: “Single-payer health care is a system in which the government, rather than private insurers, pays for all health care costs.” Switzerland is not listed as a single payer country.

          • Andrew Allison

            You are correct. I should have written universal. “Virtually all of Europe has either publicly sponsored and regulated
            universal health care or publicly provided universal healthcare. The
            public plans in some countries provide basic or “sick” coverage only;
            their citizens can purchase supplemental insurance for additional
            coverage. Countries with universal health care include Albania, Austria,
            Andorra, Belarus,
            Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic,
            Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary,
            Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg,
            Malta, Moldova, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom (
            Healthcare costs as a percentage of GDP can be found at
            In terminating (as far as I am concerned) this exchange, may I remind you what I wrote in the first comment in this thread: Let me reiterate that I am not a partisan for single-payer, just for
            honest commentary. Single-payer insurance legislation would certainly
            fail nationally, but let’s at least have an honest discussion about the
            merits, or otherwise, of the concept.

    • Josephbleau

      According to the Governor’s statement the legislation was not pursued as the required tax increases would have destroyed the economy. Is this what you mean by saying Recording, the Legislation failed?

      • Andrew Allison

        No, what I mean to say is that if you read the article referenced you will discover that the use of the highly selective and out of context quote to which I objected was just that. Specifically, in half of 10 cases, proposed single-payer legislation failed to be enacted was extrapolated to “half of all single-payer systems fail”.

    • stanbrown

      America subsidizes the drug costs of the rest of the world. Same for medical technology. The notion that this proves that the recipients of the massive subsidies have a better system is laughable.

  • Corlyss

    What else would you expect from the same people who said the cure for Obamacare’s PR swoon was to rebrand it? No lie is too big for them press.

    • Pete

      The defining characteristic of the democrats is to lie. The truth is not in them.

  • FriendlyGoat

    The better (?) conversation you are calling for in the last sentence will soon be heard. It will be Republicans calling for nothing whatsoever except unspecified tort reform and the freedom to sell unspecified insurance products across state lines (FROM the least-regulated GOP state with the least possible standards for policy provisions.) Nothing else is coming from them, even as they have some new power.

    • stanbrown

      I suspect your prediction will be proven to be so much BS.

      • FriendlyGoat

        We do notice that you have offered no alternate prediction for what your guys will be doing.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service