Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

PolitiFact: Romney says Americans pay more for health care but die sooner

The statement

"The lifespan of the average American is less than that of people in nations that spend far less (on health care). . . . To put it bluntly, we spend more and die sooner."

Mitt Romney in the book No Apology

The ruling

In his new book, No Apology, former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney devotes a chapter to health care policy — a topic that animated his tenure as governor of Massachusetts.

Romney passed a health care overhaul that was designed to get his state as close to universal coverage as possible.

While he does not support President Barack Obama's health care proposal, he does agree in his book that the U.S. health care system has problems.

"The lifespan of the average American is less than that of people in nations that spend far less" on health care, Romney wrote, adding, "To put it bluntly, we spend more and die sooner."

The first place we looked was the statistical archive of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a group that represents 30 advanced, industrialized nations, mostly in Europe, Asia and North America. Scholars consider OECD figures to be among the most reliable for international comparisons on health care.

First, we'll look at life expectancy — the number of years someone born can expect to live. The OECD's most recent figures, for either 2005 or 2006 (the year varies by country), show that the United States ranks 24th — well under the average level for the 30 nations studied.

Specifically, life expectancy in the United States was 77.8 years. (Japan was tops with 82.4 years in 2006.)

Now, we'll look at health care expenditures. There are two ways to measure this — by expenditures per capita, or by expenditures as a percentage of GDP. However you measure it, we're No. 1 — by a mile.

Using the first measure, the OECD reports that the United States spent $7,290 on health care per capita in 2007. The only two other countries where per capita health care expenditures exceeded even $4,000 were Norway and Switzerland.

Using the second measure, the United States spent more than 15 percent of GDP on health care in 2006, according to the OECD. Only Switzerland and France exceeded 11 percent.

However you measure it, Americans "spend more and die sooner," as Romney put it. We rate his statement True.

PolitiFact staff writer Louis Jacobson. This ruling has been edited for print. For the full ruling — and others — go to PolitiFact.com.

PolitiFact: Romney says Americans pay more for health care but die sooner 03/03/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 3, 2010 10:08pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Insurance regulators fret over a spike in auto glass claims

    Banking

    TALLAHASSEE — Three months ago, state regulators weren't tracking a surge in broken auto glass claims, particularly in Tampa Bay.

    The issue has their attention now.

    The Office of Insurance Regulation is taking on assignment of benefits abuse in the 2018 legislative session. Pictured is Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier. | [Times file photo]
  2. Rick Baker lowers expectations before St. Pete mayoral primary

    Blogs

    ST. PETERSBURG — Rick Baker officially lowered expectations in the mayoral race on Tuesday, saying his “battle for the future of the city” against Mayor Rick Kriseman might last until November.

    Baker has consistently led in local polls and fundraising totals this summer. But at a fundraiders …

    Rick Baker addresses supporters on Beach Drive Tuesday
  3. What you need to know for Wednesday, Aug. 23

    News

    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    Music producer Kevin Erondu, 31, who grew up in Dade City, rose to prominence after creating the beat to "Swag Surfin'," a 2009 club hit that still inspires viral videos today.
  4. Drawing nears for Powerball jackpot that's climbed to $700 million

    Business

    DES MOINES, Iowa — The estimated jackpot for Wednesday night's Powerball lottery game has climbed to $700 million, making it the second-largest in U.S. history.

    The estimated jackpot for the Powerball lottery drawing on Aug. 23, 2017, has climbed to $700 million, making it the second-largest in U.S. history. [Associated Press]
  5. 'Swag Surfin' producer: 'It's very weird… they're still playing the song' eight years later

    Music & Concerts

    TAMPA

    Kevin Erondu doesn't often go to night clubs. Yet, across America, he drives people to the dance floor. He's 31 years old, but he still has the ear of college students, and while he's no pro athlete, they leap to their feet when he joins them in the gym.

    Originally from Dade City, music producer Kevin Erondu, 31, rose to prominence after creating the beat to Swag Surfin’, a 2009 club hit that still inspires viral videos today.