Romney spoke yesterday at a $25,000 a plate breakfast fundraiser at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem:
Do you realize what health care spending is as a percentage of the GDP in Israel? Eight percent. You spend eight percent of GDP on health care. You’re a pretty healthy nation. We spend 18 percent of our GDP on health care, 10 percentage points more. That gap, that 10 percent cost, compare that with the size of our military – our military which is 4 percent, 4 percent. Our gap with Israel is 10 points of GDP. We have to find ways – not just to provide health care to more people, but to find ways to fund and manage our health care costs.
Ezra Klein gives a good summary of the Israeli health insurance system:
Romney’s point about Israel’s success in controlling health care costs is spot on: Its health care system has seen health care costs grow much slower than other industrialized nations.
How it has gotten there, however, may not be to the Republican candidate’s liking: Israel regulates its health care system aggressively, requiring all residents to carry insurance and capping revenue for various parts of the country’s health care system.
Israel created a national health care system in 1995, largely funded through payroll and general tax revenue. The government provides all citizens with health insurance: They get to pick from one of four competing, nonprofit plans. Those insurance plans have to accept all customers-including people with pre-existing conditions-and provide residents with a broad set of government-mandated benefits.