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How does the sum total of ALL US healthcare costs compare to the sum total of ALL US health insurance premiums paid by Americans, annually?

The problem of healthcare in America is often sold as an issue of scarcity, touching on political ideology. My question aims to see whether that scarcity(at least in terms of funding) is real or perceived.

If all of the premiums collected by US health insurance agencies were totaled, would the sum exceed the sum of all US healthcare expenses? If so, then wouldn't we have our solution to healthcare in America? at least in terms of Dollars and cents? Wouldn't it then become a matter of policy and reallocation of existing resources?

Must we also account for the untreated health issues that would have been included in the sum, if only those individuals could afford treatment?
IF we did account for those costs as well, how might that new sum compare to the Sum of Health Insurance Premiums?

Also, when we're talking about healthcare, at the core, aren't we talking about human rights? Our commitment to saving lives seems evident in the Hippocratic oath, and the laws mandating emergency care regardless of patient wealth. If we feel this way about human life; if we believe people deserve to be saved, then why don't we believe that all people deserve preventive and life sustaining healthcare? Why do we treat healthcare as a commodity, instead of as a civil right?

Whose interests are served when it is treated as a commodity and whose interests are jeopardized? Whose interests are served when healthcare is treated as a basic human right? Are anyone's interests not served by treating healthcare as a human right?

Doesn't a healthy society flourish? Doesn't a healthy society seem more likely to produce doctors, scientists and technicians who can further improve healthcare and life in general?

Your advice on where to seek these statistics would be of most immediate use. But perhaps more illuminating will be your perspective on health care as a commodity versus a civil human right.


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    Mar 27 2013: Fabio

    You may find the following reference useful - it delves deeply into this matter. Particularly note the necessity of using a PPP (purchasing power parity) model, when trying to understand effective health care delivery models among widely differing economies. This might even be true of regional differences within the US due to marked variability among States.

    Jonas and Kovner's Health Care Delivery in the United States, ... - Page 68 - Google Books Result
    Anthony R. Kovner, James R. Knickman, Steven Jonas, M.D. - 2011 - Medical
    A better alternative is to compare total health care spending per person (per capita), adjusted to achieve purchasing power parity, or PPP. ... Economists generally prefer to compare different countries' total spending on health care as a percent ...

    The Economist Magazine also ran an issue focussing on this topic about 5 years ago that might be worthwhile digging up.

    I am astonished that this issue is not more vigorously argued in the US. Perhaps it is being argued, and I am in a state of denial when I cannot comprehend why the current flawed model that is expensively delivering poor results to so many people is so vigorously defended. I also confess to never being a fan of either Horatio Alger or Ayn Rand.

    Bernie Amell
    • Mar 29 2013: Thank you for your research and your data. I hope to have some meaningful understanding come from all of your comments.

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