Statement on Healthcare
We are economists who think that the economy should serve people, the planet and the future.
The United States ranks first in the world in health care spending per person, but only 45th in life expectancy. The average American sees a doctor less often than the average Canadian, the average Briton, or the average resident of most industrial democracies. The average life expectancy of white Americans without a high school degree has fallen since 1990 by three years for men and five years for women.
This paradoxical combination of first-class costs and second-rate performance is a result of a multi-payer health care system whose enormous administrative bureaucracy absorbs nearly one-third of our health care dollars. The aim of this private bureaucracy is to police patients and doctors, not to add value or protect human health.
A further result is that nearly 50 million Americans today lack health insurance. Millions more have coverage inadequate to prevent bankruptcy or financial disaster in the event of a serious illness.
Some claim that the best way to improve health and extend coverage is to subsidize private insurance. But rather than controlling costs, subsidies multiply the economic waste in our health care system.
Some claim that government-funded health care means “rationing” access to health care. They ignore the all-too-painful rationing that occurs every day when private insurers deny coverage and when families can't afford to go to a doctor or buy medicines.
We oppose treating health care as a commodity to be rationed on the basis of purchasing power or a privilege to be rationed on the basis of political power.
We call for a national health insurance system that provides universal access to essential health care.
We call for insurance for all Americans in a single risk pool – the efficient model already used by Medicare and the Veterans Administration – a system that can save billions of dollars while improving health and well-being.
We extend our support to all who are working to build an effective and accountable health care system that puts public health before private profit and secures health care for all regardless of income, age, or pre-existing conditions.
Gar Alperovitz / University of Maryland College Park
James K. Boyce / University of Massachusetts Amherst
Omar S. Dahi / Hampshire College
George DeMartino / University of Denver
Gerald Epstein / University of Massachusetts Amherst
Gerald Friedman / University of Massachusetts Amherst
Eban Goodstein / Bard College
Juliet Schor / Boston College
Douglas Smith / Econ4
Hannah Appel / University of California Berkeley
Michael Ash / University of Massachusetts Amherst
Lee Badgett / University of Massachusetts Amherst
Ron Baiman / Center for Tax and Budget Accountability
Scott Baker / Common Ground – NYC
Erdogan Bakir / Bucknell University
Benjamin Balak / Rollins College
Radhika Balakrishnan / Rutgers University
Fabian Balardini / Borough of Manhattan Community College (CUNY)
Ahmet Baytas / Montclair State University
Marc Bilodeau / Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis
Cyrus Bina / University of Minnesota
Peter C. Bloch / University of Wisconsin-Madison
Elissa Braunstein / Colorado State University
Antonio Callari / Franklin and Marshall College
Martha Campbell / SUNY Potsdam
Jessica Carrick-Hagenbarth / University of Massachusetts Amherst
Ayse Cebeci / Harran University
Kimberly Christensen / Sarah Lawrence College
Jennifer Cohen / Whitman College
J. Kevin Crocker / University of Massachusetts Amherst
James Crotty / University of Massachusetts Amherst
Susan M. Davis / Buffalo State College
Carmen Diana Deere / University of Florida
Geert Dhondt / John Jay College, City University of New York
P.K. Dollar / Gem Communications
Laura Dresser / Center on Wisconsin Strategy
Amitava Krishna Dutt / University of Notre Dame
Justin A. Elardo / Portland Community College
Bilge Erten / United Nations, DESA
Joshua Farley / University of Vermont
Kade Finnoff / University of Massachusetts Boston
Heidi Garrett-Peltier / University of Massachusetts Amherst
Barbara Garson / Author “Down the Up Escalator: How the 99% live in the Great Recession”
Armagan Gezici / Keene State College
David Gold / The New School
Jonathan P. Goldstein / Bowdoin College
Mark Haggerty / University of Maine
Doug Henwood / Left Business Observer, “Behind the News”
Wolfgang Hoeschele / Truman State University
Julio Huato / St. Francis College
Mary C. King / Portland State University
Mark Klinedinst / University of Southern Mississippi
Tim Koechlin / Vassar College
Kazim Konyar / California State University, San Bernardino
Philip Kozel / Rollins College
David Laibman / City University of New York
June Lapidus / Roosevelt University
Joelle J. Leclaire / Buffalo State College, SUNY
Frederic Lee / University of Missouri Kansas City
Fernando Leiva / University at Albany (SUNY)
Charles Levenstein / University of Massachusetts Lowell
Margaret Levenstein / University of Michigan Ann Arbor
Patricia J. Lindsey / Retired
Sean MacDonald / New York City College of Technology, City University of New York
Arthur MacEwan / University of Massachusetts Boston
Stephanie Martin / Allegheny College
Peter Hans Matthews / Middlebury College
Elaine McCrate / University of Vermont
Michael Meeropol / John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY)
John D. Messier / University of Maine Farmington
Peter B. Meyer / University of Louisville, The E.P. Systems Group, Inc.
John Miller / Wheaton College
Mark Monsky / Wake Tech Community College
Fred Moseley / Mount Holyoke College
Tracy Mott / University of Denver
Jamee K. Moudud / Sarah Lawrence College
Ellen Mutari / The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey
Eric Nilsson / California State University San Bernardino
Jennifer Olmsted / Drew University
Shaianne Osterreich / Ithaca College
Aaron Pacitti / Siena College
Karl Petrick / Western New England University
Robert Pollin / University of Massachusetts Amherst
Thomas Michael Power / University of Montana
Paddy Quick / St. Francis College
Stephen Resnick / University of Massachusetts Amherst
Meenakshi Rishi / Seattle University
Leopoldo Rodriguez / Portland State University
Frank Roosevelt / Metropolitan College of New York
Luis D. Rosero / Fitchburg State University
Blair Sandler / San Francisco
Ted P. Schmidt / SUNY Buffalo State
Markus P. A. Schneider / University of Denver
Barry Shelley / Brandeis University
Thomas Simmons / Greenfield Community College
Bryan Snyder / Bentley University
Peter Spiegler / University of Massachusetts Boston
Howard Stein / University of Michigan Ann Arbor
Masao Suzuki / Skyline College
Frank Thompson / University of Michigan Ann Arbor
Renee Toback / URPE
Mariano Torras / Adelphi University
Mayo Toruño / California State University San Bernardino
A. Dale Tussing / Syracuse University
Valerie Voorheis / University of Massachusetts Amherst and Marlboro College Graduate Center
Mwangi wa Gĩthĩnji / University of Massachusetts Amherst
James Wagner / John Burrough Schools, Webster University
Scott A. Weir / Wake Technical Community College
Thomas E. Weisskopf / University of Michigan
Maggie Winslow / University of San Francisco
Yavuz Yaşar / University of Denver
Jeffrey Zink / Morningside College
If you're an economist and would like to add your name to this statement, please send us an email by clicking here (firstname.lastname@example.org).
“the United States ranks first in the world in health care spending”: see OECD, “Total expenditure on health per capita”.
“but 45th in average life expectancy”: see United Nations, “Social Indicators: Life Expectancy”.
“the average American sees a doctor less often”: see OECD, “Doctors’ Consultations”.
“the average life expectancy of white Americans without a high school degree has fallen since 1990 by three years for men and five years for women”: Tavernise 2012.
“nearly 50 million Americans today lack health insurance”: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2011.
“millions more have coverage inadequate to prevent bankruptcy or financial disaster”: see Schoen et al. 2008.