Posted By Levi
August 1st, 2012 6:43pm
Category: Health Care
In politics, sometimes the truth has a way of coming out, even if inadvertently. Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney on a visit to Israel this week:
”Do you realize what health care spending is as a percentage of the GDP in Israel? 8 percent. You spend 8 percent of GDP on health care. And you’re a pretty healthy nation,” Romney told donors at a fundraiser at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, speaking of a health care system that is compulsory for Israelis and funded by the government. “We spend 18 percent of our GDP on health care. 10 percentage points more. That gap, that 10 percent cost, let me compare that with the size of our military. Our military budget is 4 percent. Our gap with Israel is 10 points of GDP. We have to find ways, not just to provide health care to more people, but to find ways to finally manage our health care costs.”
Romney is correct that Israel spends a much smaller part of its GDP on health care than the United States. GDP – Gross Domestic Product – is the value of all goods and services produced in a country within a given year.
This chart from the Kaiser Foundation confirms this.
NY Times’ NIicholas D. Kristof:
“The United States ranks 31st in life expectancy (tied with Kuwait and Chile), according to the latest World Health Organization figures. We rank 37th in infant mortality (partly because of many premature births) and 34th in maternal mortality. A child in the United States is two-and-a-half times as likely to die by age 5 as in Singapore or Sweden, and an American woman is 11 times as likely to die in childbirth as a woman in Ireland.’
But back to Mr. Romney. How is it that Israel can spend only 8% of its GDP on healthcare and still maintain a healthy population? It’s called socialized medicine; you know, the same one we frowned upon in Canada, England and the rest of the industrialized world. In all of these countries, the government controls the health care system; they pay doctors a fixed salary as in England, or they have single payer system in which the government pays a set amount for medical services and drugs as in Canada.
In Israel, among other things:
• Every Israeli citizen is entitled to health care services under the National Health Insurance Law.
• Every resident has a right to register as a member of an HMO of his/her choice, free of any preconditions or limitations stemming from his/her age or the state of his/her health.
• Each member has a right to select the service providers, such as doctors, caregivers, therapists, hospitals and institutes, from within a list of service providers who have entered into an agreement with the HMO to which the member belongs, and within the arrangements in place for the selection of the service providers, and which the HMO publishes from time to time.
• Each member has a right to know which hospitals and institutes, and other service providers, are included in the agreement with the HMO, and what are the selection processes at the HMO.
Hell, they even have an individual mandate that requires citizens to buy health insurance, the same mandate Romney wants to repeal in the new health care law.
• Besides, Israeli citizens live longer than we do.