"We pay too much for health care." Everyone agrees on this. What we don't agree upon is who "we" are. Most of us think that our own personal medical bills are too high. But in fact, they are highly subsidized—directly and indirectly—by government. And that's what those people in Washington, D.C., mean when they say we spend too much on health care. Direct government spending has increased from 24 percent of all health-care spending in 1960 to 42 percent in 1990. Today 63 percent of all hospital costs are paid by government, and almost half of all physicians' costs are borne by the public sector.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "We the Paying".