Sunday, August 16, 2009

Health Care

(click to enlarge)

Probably health care costs are one of the largest factors affecting rural areas in general and dairy farming in particular.

A neighbor, in her mid-60s has the complete bill for her own birth – $15. At that time, rural America was served by local doctors who made house calls.

Now probably the largest, well maybe second largest, single reason for off-farm employment is access to health insurance. Ironically, on farm fatalities have risen because of one person, all too often, on the farm alone.

On a per capita basis, we have the most expensive health care in the world. Statistically, we do not have the best.

If we try to explain health care costs from a capitalistic perspective, costs plus profit equals selling price, we fail. Health care costs cannot be explained from a supply/demand basis. Years ago one economic think tank tried to explain health care costs as a free will offering – right.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) tracks many things including health care costs. The graph I have constructed shows no hiccup from the global economic crisis.

Perhaps, if the government helped the health industry the way the government has helped the dairy farmer, health care would be virtually free.

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