Ezra has a great post on Reinhardt and Hussey's Health Affairs paper on U.S. health spending and the rest of the world:
A lot of libertarian economists (Arnold Kling and the like) tend to argue that the high costs of care in America are a simple result of how much we pay for services. They, predictably, ascribe the sums to the awesome technologies and phenomenal operations we deploy. But it's more structural than that. In their (damn good) paper on the variance between US health spending and costs in other countries, Uwe Reinhardt, Peter Hussey, and Gerard Anderson explain.According to the authors, higher costs can be attributed, in part, to health practitioner's wages and a fragmented delivery system that gives more market power to the supply side of the equation. Which puts a hole in arguments over technology, but lays open quite clearly that things like high deductible health plans (HDHPs) and other plans to shift cost to consumers won't make a huge difference. The increased spending vis a vis other nations is on the backs of doctor's and hospitals fees for care, as well as gaping holes in the delivery system that give them more market power. Integration of care within regions (and between them), coupled with larger payers with more power will help bring us back in line with the rest of the world.