Policy Documents

The Candidate's Briefing Book: Health Care

John C. Liu and Robert Moffit –
October 23, 1999

In this birefing book, the authors find that, 

The movement to reform the health care system gains much of its momentum from the spiraling cost of medical care in America. National health expenditures reached 13.9 percent of gross domestic product ($884.2 billion) in 1993 and reached approximately 15.6 percent ($1.1 trillion) in 1995.r This compares with $251.1 billion in 1980, when national health expenditures were just under 10 percent of GDP. While few Americans even know how much the country as a whole spends on health care, they do worry about the rising cost to them personally, as individuals or as business owners. Typically, people mistakenly blame rising costs on drug manufacturers, insurance companies, physicians, and hospitals. But the rapid growth in medical expenditures actually is attributable to the rising demand for medical services and new technologies and, more significantly, to the peculiar way in which the tax system treats health insurance, which leads to an artificial employer-based system for most working Americans.