John Green explains the past and future of U.S. health insurance in under 10 minutes

Novelist and polymath John Green manages to cram a lot of information about the recent history, current state, and possible future of health insurance in the United States in less than ten minutes:


For sources and background information see the video description at the link above.

Here’s an even shorter summary:

U.S. healthcare has mediocre outcomes in comparison with those of other wealth countries, despite the fact that those countries spend a lot less per person than we do.

In fact, they spend so much less that if we adopted, say, the French system or the Australian system, our healthcare outcomes would be about the same or better, and our current government spending on healthcare would be more than enough to pay the total cost. Green doesn’t spell this out, but we could do away with deductibles, copays, coinsurance, and health insurance premiums, and we wouldn’t have to spend a penny more in taxes. (Yes, that does sound too good to be true, but look at the numbers.)

Multiple independent non-partisan analyses agree that Trump’s healthcare proposals would drastically increase the number of uninsured and out-of-pocket medical spending while increasing the budget deficit. Clinton’s proposals would increase the deficit even more than Trump’s, but would cut out-of-pocket costs and decrease the number of uninsured Americans. And overall, Clinton’s tax and spending proposals would increase the deficit far less than Trump’s. (The deficit figures he quotes appear to be for a frame of more than one year, but the comparison is what’s important.)

One more thing: I agree with Green’s praise of the Healthcare Triage YouTube channel, but I wish in the interest of full disclosure that he had mentioned that he’s partly responsible for Healthcare Triage, so he’s not entirely objective about it.

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