LETTERS IN THE EDITOR'S MAILBAG, Register Guard, December 7, 2015
by CHARLIE SWANSON, Eugene
Reginald Jensen stated in his Nov. 20 letter that the World Health Organization and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, respectively, report U.S. health care costs were 17.1 percent and 16.4 percent of gross domestic product in 2013.
He then claimed the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reports health care costs were only 11.4 percent of GDP in 2013, and explained the discrepancy by saying WHO and OECD aren’t using GDP in the United States for their comparisons.
The BEA reports the 2013 annual GDP as $16.4 to $16.9 trillion (first to last quarter) and uses data from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services for health care costs — $2.9 trillion. This works out to 17.1 to 17.7 percent of GDP, with 17.4 percent being what BEA itself reports.
His other complaint about a single-payer system — wait times — was just as faulty.
A 2014 New York Times article cited a Commonwealth Fund study that found 26 percent of Americans waited more than five days for an appointment, worse than any OECD country except Canada and Norway.
From the article: “Americans are more likely to wait for office-based medical appointments that are not good sources of revenue for hospitals and doctors... . Patients can get lucrative procedures rapidly, even when there is no urgent medical need.”
With the administrative savings from implementing a unified-payer or single-payer system in Oregon, all residents could get the health care they need in a timely manner with less average cost to businesses and individuals.