America’s healthcare system is one of the most expensive in the world. If you’ve ever bought worldwide health insurance cover, you may have noticed that the US is often excluded from the definition of ‘worldwide’. And if you visit the States, you usually need to request specific US coverage from your medical insurer.


Because the US has the most expensive healthcare system in the world. And no non-US insurer wants to leave that option open-ended.

The Healthcare Spending Charts

This chart, from

us healthcare sticker shock

Here is the important question:

How is it that the US Government, which does not cover every US Citizen for healthcare, spends more per head than those governments that provide it for everyone (like Germany, the UK, Australia, etc)? And how is it that those governments, which cover all their citizens, provide the same (or even, better) health outcomes?

There are always two answers to this:

  • The Left: because Government Regulation is in the hands of Big Pharma, who exploit the current semi-free-market status of the medical system to their advantage. It would be better to offer full national healthcare coverage, and moreover, you’d save public money doing it.
  • The Right: because there’s too much Government Regulation. If there was no regulation, then competition and free market forces would force the price of healthcare to come down.

Here is my question: if the Left’s solution is supported by real world evidence in other OECD countries, while the Republican solution is more of an idealistic hypothetical, why is there even a debate?

But perhaps that’s just me.

Rolling Alpha posts about finance, economics, and sometimes stuff that is only quite loosely related. Follow me on Twitter @RollingAlpha, or like my page on Facebook at Or both.