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Healthcare is the number one voting issue for the 2020 presidential elections. And we've seen Elizabeth Warren come out recently and propose something rather European. A Medicare-for-all programme, which would essentially mimic a European-style, nationalised healthcare programme in the US. This may be a step too far for US voters. But, economically, it makes a lot of sense.
America has the highest healthcare costs and yet lower outcomes than many European nations, or even OECD nations, as a whole. It's clear that we need healthcare reform. But Americans have always thought about healthcare in a way that's very individualistic.
I had some personal experience with that when I was travelling between London and New York a few years back and had my first child. I had a slightly higher than average risk of certain kinds of foetal abnormalities.
In the US, my GYN recommended that I do lots and lots of expensive tests for a very, very tiny result of negative externalities. In the UK, my British midwife told me, hey, you have a 99.8 per cent chance of having a healthy baby. I'd play those odds.
This really gets to the heart of the existential difference in healthcare between Europe and the US. In Europe, healthcare is a right. It is a collective responsibility. And the idea of not providing a basic safety net would be pretty unthinkable.
In the US, healthcare has always been perceived as a privilege. So you have some of the highest levels of concierge care. You have high levels of healthcare innovation. At the very low end of the spectrum, you can get universal coverage through Medicaid.
But, in the middle, there are a lot of people that aren't covered. And that leads to healthcare being the number one cause of personal bankruptcy in the US, one of the key reasons that people cycle in and out of poverty, and, some believe, a drag on our overall GDP growth.