Sunday, August 05, 2012

Romney compliments Israeli health care

On his recent international trip to demonstrate his foreign policy credentials, Mitt Romney, the assumed Republican presidential nominee, complimented Israel's health care system — at least the cost and outcome. As reported by the Washington Post's Wonkblog, Governor Romney said
Our health care costs are completely out of control. Do you realize what health care spending is as a percentage of the GDP in Israel? 8 percent. You spend 8 percent of GDP on health care. And you’re a pretty healthy nation. We spend 18 percent of our GDP on health care. 10 percentage points more. That gap, that 10 percent cost, let me compare that with the size of our military. Our military budget is 4 percent. Our gap with Israel is 10 points of GDP. We have to find ways, not just to provide health care to more people, but to find ways to finally manage our health care costs.
Ironically, the Israeli health care system is funded through taxes, imposes a mandate for everyone to participate (through taxes), provides access to all citizens (regardless of employment or income), and controls health care costs with government involvement in physician contracts and capping hospital costs.

Measured by two outcomes — child mortality and life expectancy — Israelis do better than Americans.

Given all the bashing of Obamacare, particularly following the Supreme Court ruling, it's ironic that Mitt Romney would choose to highlight Israeli healthcare. Their results surely reflect the construction of their system.

During the development of what became the Affordable Care Act, the Christian Broadcasting Network produced this profile of the Israeli health care system. It provides a good overview of the key attributes and notes pros and cons compared with the American counterpoint.

If you want more on Mitt Romney's remarks and the resulting reaction, here's another article.