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

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“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.

“administrative bureaucracy absorbs nearly one-third of our health care dollars”: Woolhandler et al. 2003; Himmelstein et al. 2004; Morra et al. 2011.

“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.

“save billions of dollars”: Himmelstein et al. 2004 and Friedman 2011.