A Quick Correction


In my Bloggingheads.tv discussion with Matthew Yglesias yesterday, I casually mentioned that Americans spend 40 percent of their income on health care. The number sounded ridiculous as soon as it left my mouth. And it was! This is a peril of these sorts of off-the-cuff but public chats, I guess—not to mention of pontificating on topics outside one's primary area of expertise.

Anyway, I wasn't remotely close. The real figure looks to be between 5 and 15 percent.

Health care spending as a percentage of GDP is around 18 percent. 

I'll now humbly link to my Reason colleagues' more informed work on the health care debate.


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  1. You’re doing it wrong. You are supposed to spin some giant absurd formula that arrives at the 40% number. Not admit it was a mistake.

    Like this. Americans spend 15% on insurance services and 25% on bandaids, mouth wash, toothpaste, and toilet paper. BAM 40%

  2. you can count food. and shelter. they help maintain your health.

  3. That is close to the percentage of US healthcare $$ that are currently funneled through the government (in the neighborhood of 45%, I think). Maybe that was the source of the number you were thinking of?

  4. Human flesh and Nuka-Cola also raise your health.

  5. I don’t have cannabilism, but I do have hematophage. So replace human flesh with blood for me.

  6. Ah, price at what price, SF? Unless the health bill covers radiation sickness.

  7. Oops, I meant “BUT at what price?”

  8. Dude, I never took the human flesh-eating perk. Tsk, tsk.

    The kids apparently lost my Fallout 3 DVD. I am not pleased. I hope it turns up so I can procure one or more expansions.

  9. Don’t you love it when you’re wrong for the right reasons?

  10. Hmm: You forgot what we spend on “health foods”. Or exercise! That weight machine cost $2500! A healthcare expenditure!

  11. You were on a bloggingheads with Mathew Iglesias.

    Automatic fail to begin with.

  12. Radley – don’t feel so bad I’m sure there are some Americans who spend 40%.

  13. Why in the world does this site continue to quote, link to and generally associate with Yglesias? The guy is an partisan hack who should be ignored in hopes he will just shut the fuck up already.

  14. Radley Balko is a tool of Big GDP.

  15. The kids apparently lost my Fallout 3 DVD. I am not pleased. I hope it turns up so I can procure one or more expansions.

    Did you check in the Finding Nemo case?

  16. SugarFree,

    Yes, but we have a whole slew of CDs for the computer that I need to go through. I share your suspicion, of course. Danged meddling kids.

    My two year-old might’ve put it somewhere, too. Hopefully not the garbage.

  17. Sorry I was so rude on my BHtv comment. Please forgive.

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