Health Systems

If a country is relatively affluent, then in my mind I assume that the people that inhabit it are also relatively healthy, as it is likely that it takes some effort to work, develop, and maintain the status quo. Those who are living in poverty (which does not necessarily mean lack of money; but lack of essentials) cannot spend time or energy on much else than trying to acquire the basics of life. From these assumptions, does in not sound logical to deduce that wealthier countries should be spending less on healthcare?

Surely, there are differences in the nature of the disease burden that affects a developing VS a developed country (infectious/chronic) diseases, but don’t we want to believe that we as the wealthy west, with so many resources and so much knowledge, are able to conduct our lives in such a way that excess time and resources can be directed towards new discoveries rather than maintenance work of our bodies?

The truth is (or rather, WHO says) that high-income countries direct almost three times as much of their GDP into the health care system as low-income countries do. Is this because we simply have so much money to spend that this discrepancy is caused by fancy waiting rooms and personnel to keep the white coats clean? Or is it because we go to the hospital when we have a runny nose? Or because our diseases are more difficult/expensive to treat? Someone with diabetes, for instance, will in most cases be medicated indefinitely (however, some people turn to nature; again, Hippocrates was a wise man), and someone with cancer will also receive extensive treatment. Is it that we are vaccinated here, that brings up the costs? I can’t help but wonder. Low-income countries generally have a greater population, too.

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