We’re not good at cost-control

David Brooks claimed earlier this week, with respect to cost controls in health care, that:

The fact is, there is no dispositive empirical proof about which method is best — the centralized technocratic one or the decentralized market-based one. Politicians wave studies, but they’re really just reflecting their overall worldviews.

Many, including, Ezra KleinJonathan Cohn, and Jon Chait disagree. So do I.

It’s worth remembering this chart at times like this:

That’s health care spending as a percent of GDP. Let’s own that for pretty much every one of the OECD countries, the slope is positive. But it’s not hard to pick out the US. We are, by far, the worst at controlling costs.

I don’t think these data are just “reflecting my worldview”. I think one of these countries really just doesn’t look like the others.

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