As noted by the Los Angeles Times, Americans spent 17.3% of our GDP on health care in 2009, up from 16.2% in 2008. That's about 2.5 trillion dollars, which works out to about $8000 for each man, woman and child in the United States.
Even the most spendthrift industrialized nations of the world other than our own spend far less than this -- no more than about $5000 per capita, and in some places significantly less.
If the US were to merely spend just the exhorbitant amount these spendthrift countries splurge on health care (not even thinking about the more frugal ones), the United States would save almost $1,000,000,000 a year; that's 1 trillion, 10**12, or for those less numerate, a whopping high pile of hundred dollar bills.
If you had a trillion dollars, what would you do with it? Sure, sure, you might feed the world's hungry or provide vaccines to all of humanity, or maybe you'd just feel like throwing a really big party aboard the 200 aircraft carriers you could buy.
But I'll bet you didn't know that you could
- Purchase the entirety of Africa's goods and services for a year. (1)
- Give every teacher in the US a $150,000 raise. (2)
- Lay down 45,000 miles of high speed rail. (3)
- Pay the interest on the federal debt for 2014 and 2015. (4), OR
- Outfit Sarah Palin for her next 4,000,000 campaigns. (5)
I'm just sayin'.