US Healthcare Spending = Entire economy of France

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“The United States spends on health care alone what the 65 million people in France spend on everything: education, defense, the environment, scientific research, vacations, food, housing, cars, clothes and health care. In other words, our health care spending is the fifth largest economy in the world.”

So writes Ezekiel Emanuel, Penn’s newest PIK professor, in the first of a series of columns on health care policy in The New York Times.

“What this means,” he contends, “is that there is so much money in the American health care system, we can control spending without having to ration care.”

Emanuel’s name might ring a bell–or several.  His brother Rahm is mayor of Chicago. His brother Ari is the Hollywood agent who inspired  actor Jeremy Piven’s character Ari Gold in the HBO series Entourage.  And Ezekiel himself was in the spotlight back in 2009 when, as a health care policy adviser for the Obama administration, he came under (spurious) attack by Sarah Palin as an advocate of so-called “death panels.”  His first few NYT columns promise to shed more light than heat on the issue of where potential health-care savings are—and where they aren’t.

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