While members of both major parties digest last week’s health care “summit”, which I mentioned earlier, there has been an intervention in the style of stating the blindingly obvious, and from someone who knows a little about getting value for money.
Warren Buffett, head of Berkshire Hathaway and a man who has assembled a substantial fortune over the years, has appeared on CNBC today and spelled out the facts: that the USA is spending around 17% of GDP on health care, while other nations spend around half that, and provide a service that is often better.
Buffett’s analogy is that health care costs are “like an economic tape worm”. And he looks forward to action directed at driving those costs down. Because, as he explains in the video, the ultimate result of high health care costs is that goods and services provided within the USA become uncompetitive.
The problem is that health care lobbyists exercise enough power – routinely exercised through payments to the campaign funds of elected representatives – to bend many politicians to their will, while the issue of increasing cost – not to mention the thirty million uninsured – remains to be addressed.