Issue Of Rising Health Care Costs Is Real

Armen Hareyan's picture
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In his opinion piece published earlier this month in the Wall Street Journal,John Graham makes the "spurious argument" that there is "no problem with our rising health costs because our economic productivity is very high and, after paying for health care, we still have on average more money left per capita in our economy than other countries," Arnold Relman of Harvard Medical School writes in a Wall Street Journal letter to the editor (Relman, Wall Street Journal, 11/26).

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Graham, director of health care studies at the Pacific Research Institute,wrote in his opinion piece that "America's high productivity gives (it)the ability to spend more on health care, especially the late sttreatments and technologies, than other developed nations that labor under forms of socialized health care." Because U.S. residents earn "so much more than people in other countries, it naturally follows that we spend more on health care," he continued (Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, 11/13).

According to Relman, Graham's argument ignores three facts: rising health costs"threaten to bankrupt the U.S. Treasury," public spending on health care "is rising faster than GDP" and most health care spending "is not discretionary." He concludes, "The health cost crisis is not a 'myth'" (Wall Street Journal, 11/26).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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