No issue affecting taxes so clearly divides the two parties in the U.S. election as healthcare. The two parties, in their platforms, describe very different approaches to healthcare economics. Both use political plastic surgery to cover up ugly truths.
The stakes are huge. Americans spend $2.64 per person for healthcare for each purchasing power equivalent dollar spent by the 33 other countries that make up the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The OECD data shows the U.S. spends $8,233 per capita compared with an average of $3,118 in the other 33 countries.
A growing share of federal tax dollars, in direct spending and in tax breaks, is going to U.S. healthcare as the population ages, even though about one in six Americans lacks health insurance.
America‘s healthcare system, more accurately described as a non-system sick care system, totaled 17.6 percent of the economy in 2010, compared to an average of 9.2 percent in the other 33 countries, as the OECD data shows.
In the United States, total public and private cost of healthcare is significantly greater than the total of corporate and individual income taxes, as well as payroll taxes. For each dollar paid in all three of those taxes in 2010, healthcare came to $1.29.