Random Critical Analysis has a really interesting blog post from a while ago, on the difference between consumption and income as measures of well being. The level of data analysis and detail on that blog is really impressive.
The narrow question is whether the US spends "too much" on healthcare. A counterargument has always been, what else should we spend money on? As a society gets wealthier, it's natural to spend more on health care, just as we spend more on art, travel, and so forth.
(The counterargument to that is, whether we spend more or less is beside the point. The point is a dysfunctional regulated oligopoly is charging way too much for what we get. It's not so bad to spend this much, it's bad to get such a bad deal.)
So, the question is not whether the US spends more on health care, the question is whether we spend more on health care relative to a measure of our standard of wealth. Using GDP as a rough proxy, we spend a lot more on health care relative to GDP than other countries.
But, the larger point of the blog post, on which I'll focus -- consumption is not GDP (income). Americans are far better off relative to other countries than we think we are. See the graph:
The actual standard of living -- consumption -- is higher in the US than in any of these other countries. Many of them have higher GDP. What's going on? Well, Ireland, for example, hosts a lot of international companies. These chalk up a lot of GDP in Ireland -- a lot seems to be "produced" in Ireland -- but much of it does not go to Irish people. Similarly Switzerland and Luxembourg.
this consumption measure includes government transfers, subsidies, etc, notably including the vast majority of healthcare and education spending, as Actual Individual Consumption (AIC) does.
Since some people earlier seemed to miss to this point, I’ll repeat: the only form of consumption excluded from AIC is that which cannot be attributed directly to individuals or households, i.e, collective expenditures by government like military procurement and the like.I.e. the one thing that is also much larger in the US. And RCA adds nice confirmation. The average US person lives in twice as much space as the average european. And