Why is healthcare expensive?

A question from Yahoo! Answers:

Is this false assumption why or why not?

Health care is expensive because the vast majority of Americans consume it as if it were free.

The reality is the opposite of your assumption. In countries where people actually consume healthcare as if it were free, i.e., where healthcare is financed largely out of tax revenues and costs pretty much nothing out-of-pocket (and this is pretty much every advanced country except the U.S.), healthcare is actually cheaper. Canada, France, and the UK all spend on healthcare about half of what the U.S. does in per-capita terms, but have higher life expectancy and significantly lower infant mortality.

Read this essay for some food for thought:

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/18802

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