Think Outside the Vox

Daily Best of the Web   —   Posted on April 14, 2014

The following is an excerpt from’s “Best of the Web” written by the editor, James Taranto.

Think Outside the Vox 
Vox .com’s Ezra Klein tweets what he claims is “the case for single payer, in one graphic.” (“Single payer” refers to a government monopsony on medical goods and services, à la Canada.) The graphic is a photo of a doctor holding a stethoscope, with the following text superimposed:

How much the average American doctor spends every year dealing with insurance companies: $82,975

How much the average doctor in the Canadian province of Ontario spends every year: $22,205

Then, in small print: “Source: a 2011 study in the journal Health Affairs.”

According to the abstract of the Health Affairs study, “if US physicians had administrative costs similar to those of Ontario physicians, the total savings would be approximately $27.6 billion per year.”

So, how much is that? According to a fact sheet from the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services, a division of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department, total U.S. health-care spending in 2012 was $2.8 trillion.

So according to Klein, a cost saving of less than 1% is sufficient to justify yet another radical restructuring of the American medical marketplace. That’s what they call “explanatory journalism.”

(The excerpt above is from the April 9 BOTW archives.) For more “Best of the Web” click here and look for the “Best of the Web Today” link in the middle column below “Today’s Columnists.”