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Something’s Got to Go Up

By Matthew Yglesias on February 24, 2011 at 8:30 am

"Something’s Got to Go Up"

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I think there’s a lot of waste in our health care sector. That said, I think discussion of health care costs sometimes ignore the fact that something has to go up as a share of GDP. Consider that food as a share of income is shrinking:

And clothing is getting cheaper too:

Americans are getting richer, agriculture is becoming more efficient, apparel is increasingly made by Bangladeshis or robots, etc. At the same time, computers and other electronic gadgets are getting cheaper in real terms. And if some things shrink as a share of our income, other things need to grow. The biggest of those things has been health care. And that makes perfect sense. Richer people should be spending our money trying to be healthier. The problem we have isn’t so much that the volume of health related spending is “too high” as it is that we’re actually purchasing shockingly little in the way of improved health for all that money.

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