It’s bizarre when a major driving force of an economy is health care that most people can’t afford.
On June 21, the AHA released its “Economic Contribution of Hospitals” report. The AHA said the health care sector, of which hospital care is the largest component, added $2.3 trillion to the U.S. economy in 2008, or 16.2% of gross domestic product. Hospitals accounted for $718 billion of that total; employed more than 5.3 million people, including physicians; and spent about $320 billion on goods and services from other industries, according to AHA data. The Bureau of Labor Statistics puts hospital employment figures at 4.7 million nationally as of May 2010.
Medicynical Note: All manner of opportunity here, heal thyself, our “ailing” economy, etc. The most optimistic one might view our aging population with increasing needs for health care as an opportunity for economic growth–that’s just plain sick!
Those people expecting a quick, or even slow, resolution of our economic woes by “cutting taxes”, “stimulating” by spending or moving to a “market” driven economy are on simply delusional. There are structural problems here fueled by greed, unreasonable expectations of wealth and world hegemony and a flawed economic base.