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Healthcare spending

Healthcare is like food: both have a known average lifetime usage. For food, that's the nutrition required by a person over their lifetime. For healthcare, it's the preventive care and restorative care a person needs over their lifetime. Both have pretty clear limits: you can't really eat a whole lot more than you need, and you can't really use a lot more healthcare than is required.

The big difference is the spending pattern. You need to eat every day and pay for your food every day. But healthcare needs tend to come in bursts. You may have a week where you need more healthcare than in the last ten years added up.

For an individual, dealing with healthcare-like burst spending would require either big savings, an insurance system, or a credit system. A buffer to absorb the costs.

At society level, healthcare spending is smoothed out, and looks a whole lot like food spending. You have a stable level of healthcare spending every day, and can budget for it just like for food. Every day, everyone pays to match the required spending for the day. If you don't like being healthy and paying for other people's healthcare, you're free to break your arm and enjoy the care too. Healthy people don't get sick for fun. If you think the payment is too much, make the society more healthy and lower the costs.

Healthcare is also more of a society-level problem. A person in poor health is going to bring down the health of the people around him. A person in poor health is less able to repay the care given to him. If you make amount of healthcare provided depend on the ability to repay, you'll end up with more people in poor health, which will make the people around them less well as well.

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