Healthcare USA: don't get sick

New Internationalist magazine, April 2003


US healthcare is the most privatized system in the West. Corporations are its backbone. They sell Insurance, run hospitals, employ doctors, sell drugs and operate long-term care facilities. It's the model held up by those who challenge publicly funded medicare - the rest of the world Is urged to adopt the US model. For those who are tempted here's what It looks like.


* With 4% of the world's population the US spends more than $1 trillion yearly on health-care, 35-40% of global expenditures.


* One in six Americans has no medical insurance, more than 40 million peopIe. Millions of others are under-insured. More than a third of Hispanics and 20% of Blacks have no insurance.


* Healthcare accounts for 16% of US GDP and 19% of total public spending; it is the largest sector of the US economy. By contrast the Canadian medicare system covers the whole population and accounts for 9% of GDP and 15% of government spending. The WHO ranks the US 15th in global health standards and Canada second.


* A fifth of US healthcare spending is on administration.

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