01 May Excerpted from a May 2017 column by Wisconsin Technology Council President Tom Still
The real problem with health care in the United States is that it costs more than what the nation’s economy gets in return. Health-care costs in the United States stand at 17.1 percent of gross domestic product, compared with 13.1 percent of GDP in 1995. Those figures are far higher than comparable GDP shares in other industrial nations, including Germany (11.3 percent today versus 9.4 percent in 1995); Japan (10.2 percent and 6.6 percent); Great Britain (9.1 percent and 6.7 percent); and China (5.5 percent and 3.5 percent).
Which is a bigger drag on companies trying to compete in a global economy: Health care costs at 17 percent of GDP or corporate taxes at 2 percent of GDP? For most companies, the answer is health care costs.
That’s a nuanced and somewhat qualified answer, of course. Most companies will pay what it takes to cover their workers if higher quality care leads to better employee recruitment, attendance, morale and retention. Fortunately, Wisconsin fares much better than most states on the health-care quality scale.