Asked about the role of the state in taking care of us, a majority of Americans said to Pew Research in 2012 that they prefer self-reliance.
Where are we going? To whether our values correlate with our national healthcare policies.
In a 2013 paper, economists Mark Stabile and Sarah Thompson considered the role of government in healthcare financing. Because their conclusions display how national values correlate with policy, I thought we should take a look at coverage and financing. All tables/graphs are from “The Changing Role of Government in Financing Health Care: An International Perspective.”
If we assume that coverage indicates equity, then the facts below demonstrate that health care policy in England and France are our best examples of countries that implement Pew’s “nobody in need” philosophy. And yes, we do have the U.S. at the other end of the spectrum.
“Breadth Population (% covered in 2011)”
“Depth: User Fees”
Because a general tax has the greatest revenue potential, the following financing graph places England at the top of the equity list.
Our Bottom Line: Healthcare Spending
National decisions about healthcare spending and revenue are perfect examples of fiscal policy tradeoffs between “nobody in need” and the “freedom to pursue one’s goals.” When government takes care of us, it makes decisions about land, labor and capital instead of individuals and businesses who are pursuing their own goals.