Washington’s Myopic Focus on Health-Care Costs Doesn’t Add Value

Ezra Klein argues that Democrats and Republicans are wrong when they focus solely on costs as the litmus test for a successful health care system.

“But the problem isn’t that America’s health-care system costs too much. It’s that it delivers too little. Value, not cost, is the problem. And cutting costs may actually be counterproductive.”

“The question in American health care isn’t how much it costs. It’s how much it’s worth. People complain that America spends about a fifth of its GDP on health services. But in isolation, the statistic is meaningless. The question is whether the health services Americans get are a good value at a fifth of GDP.”

“On that, the answer is easy: hell no. Americans spend roughly double what other developed nations spend but get basically the same outcomes. We’re not paying more to get more. We’re paying more and getting ripped off.”

“You can fix that problem by paying less for health care of the same quality, by paying the same — or more — for health care of higher quality, or some combination of the two. But our political discourse focuses simply on cutting costs.”

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