How Bad Is America’s Healthcare Crisis?

The questions for this survey were drawn from a presentation by Dr. Matt Hendrickson, founder of the Southern California Chapter of Physicians for National Healthcare Program, which we reported on in “A Long and Winding Road to Universal Healthcare.”

Our recent “Healthcare Myths and Realities” is another good source of myth-busting facts.

Correct answers are bolded.

1. How many more Americans are uninsured than 30 years ago?

→ 13 million
→ 24 million: About 23 million in 1979, 47 million now
→ 35 million
→ 46 million
→ 57 million

2. How much more do Americans pay per capita each year for healthcare than Swedes?

→ $1500
→ $2500
→ $3500: Swedes pay $3200 each, we pay $6710 in public and private funds
→ $4500
→ $5500

3. The Congressional Budget Office predicts that in 2082 American healthcare costs will be what percentage of GDP?

→ 40%
→ 60%
→ 80%
→ 100%
→ 120%
→ 180%

4. In what year are health insurance premium costs projected to surpass average household income?

→ 2026
→ 2046
→ 2066
→ 2086
→ 3006
→ Never

5. Which country among these has both the lowest life expectancy and highest infant mortality rates?

→ U.S.: Life expectancy–77.8, Infant mortality–6.7 per 1000
→ Canada: 79.1 and 5.4
→ Australia: 4.7
→ Italy: 80.9 and 3.9
→ Germany: 79.8 and 3.8
→ France: 80.9 and 3.8
→ Sweden: 80.8 and 2.8

6. Since 1970, the number of physicians in the U.S. has grown by what percentage?

→ 0%
→ 100%
→ 300%
→ 500%
→ 1000%
→ 3000%

7. Since 1970, the number of hospital administrators in the U.S. has grown by what percentage?

→ 0%
→ 100%
→ 300%
→ 500%
→ 1000%
→ 3000%: !

8. Which of these proposed healthcare or health insurance reforms would you support? Check all that apply.

  • A full single-payer system modeled on those found in Canada, Britain, and much of Europe
  • A vigorous public option that would effectively contain healthcare costs
  • A weaker public option or coop plan that would at least insure at least some currently uninsured Americans
  • A plan that would require Americans to buy insurance through existing private health insurers
  • Any plan
  • No plan currently under discussion
  • A plan to would cover abortions
  • One that would cover undocumented workers
  • One that would provide death panels

We’ll report results from this survey in an upcoming article.


  1. Hal Hurst says

    First, I support universal healthcare. Second, I feel that you need to think more carefully about what claims make sense.

    When we assume straight-line trends and extrapolate answers such as #3 and #4 we are making a big mistake and losing credibility. A situation in which the cost of health care could exceed the GDP is impossible on the face of it and makes anyone who makes such a claim look like a fool. Healthcare can never become 100% of GDP, since we would all starve before this could happen. Real-world situations are bad enough, but these rates follow a curve, not a straight line.

    If you time me eating 1/6 of a pie and a cup of coffee in 10 minutes you might assume I eat three pies and over a gallon of coffee in three hours. In reality the situation changes with each piece.

    As Mark Twain once pointed out, there are three types of lies: Plain lies, Damned lies, and Statistics. Let’s be careful, and keep our credibility: take a reality check from time to time.

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