Total health care expenditures in the United States in 2008 came to $2.4 trillion, implying that Summers believes that the proper government regulations can cut health care expenditures by almost 30 percent. That would cut back health care a lot.Funny how that probably doesn't apply to all procedures.
The selective use of statistics by Summers and others in the Obama administration is startling. In 2000, New York had 501 abortions per 1,000 live births, Wyoming had 1. New York had 31 abortions per 1,000 women, Wyoming had fewer than 1. Abortion procedures rarely involve the health of the mother. Yet, presumably, Summers wouldn’t argue that these gaps, which are 10 to 167 times greater than the 3-to-1 ratio that so upsets him for other procedures, imply that abortions should be rationed.And as Lott points out, Insurance companies are paying for most of that health care. Are they mistaken?
If people are getting costly, unnecessary procedures, don’t you think that the insurance companies would already have learned about it? For anyone who thinks that insurance companies are too stingy, the Obama administration has a news flash: insurance companies have been paying for too much health care.It will be interesting to see what they want to pay for (will they continue to pay for Viagra?) and what they won't.