tons of nice charts here but you have to click on them to read them.
More data here ; in particular Exhibit 6 at the bottom is the key problem. Health care spending as a percentage of GDP is growing fast in Europe. (not as fast as the US, but still bad).
Another key point I think is that the US system is horribly broken at the low level. We often focus on the problem of who's paying (insurers vs. government) and who's covered (univeral, poor, etc). But even once people get into a hospital our system is fucked. Medicare + Medicaid (+ all government spending on health care) is 7% of GDP, which is close to what the Europeans spend on all their health care. Government spending is also growing as a percent of GDP (even normalized to remove the growth of the elderly population), so it's not like that is controlling costs. I think it's easy for politicians to villify the private insurers, but they are only a small part of the problem. We need to be looking at doctors who are making poor care decisions.
ADDENDUM : This Uwe Reinhardt guy is alright. He annoyingly uses the hack's method of presenting only little snippets of data that are carefully chosen to prove his point at the time, but it's still interesting.
Why Does U.S. Health Care Cost So Much (Part I) - Economix Blog - NYTimes.com
Why Does U.S. Health Care Cost So Much (Part II Indefensible Administrative Costs) - Economix Blog - NYTimes.com
Why Does U.S. Health Care Cost So Much (Part III An Aging Population Isn�t the Reason) - Economix Blog - NYTimes.com
Why Does U.S. Health Care Cost So Much (Part IV A Primer on Medicare) - Economix Blog - NYTimes.com
U.S. Health Care Costs, Part V Can Americans Afford Medicare - Economix Blog - NYTimes.com
Who Needs the Public Option - Economix Blog - NYTimes.com
Is Medicare Raising Prices for the Privately Insured - Economix Blog - NYTimes.com
Health Reform Without a Public Plan The German Model - Economix Blog - NYTimes.com
A �Common Sense� American Health Reform Plan - Economix Blog - NYTimes.com