Column: How to cure America’s health system


In US public policy, all roads lead to healthcare. Remorseless pressure on public spending? Blame Medicare. Economic insecurity? Fear of losing health benefits is a chief cause. Stagnant wages and worsening inequality? Look to the cost of employer-provided insurance. This failing system is a national scandal not just in its own right, but because of its proliferating fiscal, economic and political implications.

For many workers without employer-provided insurance, the cost of cover is now prohibitive. The average cost for a family is $12,000 (€7,700, £6,100) a year (roughly a quarter of median household income before tax) and rising handsomely in real terms. If you have cover provided by your employer, losing your job means losing your insurance. The unluckiest – especially those with a dreaded “pre-existing condition” – may then face ruin. This vastly amplifies the anxieties colouring the election and driving the US towards an increasingly strident anti-business, anti-trade outlook.

The remainder of this column can be read here. Please post your comments below.

Clive Crook’s blog

This blog is no longer updated but it remains open as an archive.

I have been the FT's Washington columnist since April 2007. I moved from Britain to the US in 2005 to write for the Atlantic Monthly and the National Journal after 20 years working at the Economist, most recently as deputy editor. I write mainly about the intersection of politics and economics.

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