The Price of Free Health Care

See, that’s not fair.  Everyone knows there’s no such thing as free health care.  Heck, we know there isn’t free anything.  So, what has to happen for health care to be made available to every citizen in America?  Well, it has to be paid for.  And who would pay for it?  Well, we would simply raise taxes to cover the costs.  And could we do this?  Yes, almost for sure.  To be equally sure, we would have to raise the taxes so high that even Democrats would puke.  So instead we’ll raise them just some.  And what does this get us?  A system in debt.

We have all heard that America is ranked something like 37th in the world [based on the metrics used to determine this, I think that we are really ranked #1, but why quibble].  The club that we are beaten with is “If we spend all this money on health care, why do we only get a return that ranks us 37th?  The other club, my second favorite, is “We are the only industrial nation that doesn’t have some form of universal health care.”

Let’s look at the cost those other nations have to pay.  I like GDP PPP [that is purchasing power parity].  Basically, this is a measure of the “quality of economic life” in a given country or State.  Using this measure you can compare the purchasing power of people living in North Carolina and Minnesota for example.  Of of people living in Sweden and Germany.

So, these nations that are providing medical care to all of their citizens–how do they rank in GDP PPP?  Poorly.  Very poorly.  In fact, according to one study, if you took the nations of Spain, Portugal and Greece and granted them statehood in the United States, they would immediately become the 1st, 2nd and 3rd poorest states in the Union.

Italy, Finland, Denmark, France and the UK?  Make them states instead?  They would become the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th poorest States in America.  In fact, you could take the whole of the European Union and make it a State.  It would be the 5th poorest State right behind Arkansas and Montana.


When we turn to consider the impact of economic policy on growth, it is hard not to
notice that one particular factor above all is essentially different in large parts of Europe
compared with the USA, namely the expansion of the political sphere in general and
taxes and the size of the public sector in particular.


So, if we simply worked at letting medical care exist like any other commodity, we would find that America would:

  1. Have more money than any other nation to spend on health care.
  2. See the real cost of that care go down.

Leave a Reply