Is every American family paying $8,000 Poll Tax towards healthcare?

The healthcare costs in America are high to the extent that a few economists reckon that what its people are paying towards it is equal to a hefty tax. Anne Case and Angus Deaton, the reputed economists and Princeton University professors, expressed their surprise over the fact that no American is raising its voice against these taxes. The case also added that some people are taking advantage of this and getting wealthier. visit

Hani Zeini

The healthcare system in the country charges nearly $1 trillion more a year compared to even Switzerland’s, the second most expensive system in the world. A comparison between the two countries reveals that American households pay an additional amount of $8,000 annually. According to economists, the extra charges are “poll tax” as all the individuals have to bear this cost, whether they can afford it or not. 

Understanding Poll Tax

A large number of people in the US believe that poll tax refers to the money they used to pay for registration for voting. But “poll” comes from an old German word “polle,” which means head. Hence, the poll tax stands for tax per head.

Healthcare scenario in the US

Even after spending an extra amount on healthcare, American families don’t enjoy the health benefits as per the expectations, add the economists. They live less than Europeans.

According to Case, the US is not only very costly in terms of healthcare but also lacks in providing health compared to any wealthy country.

Speaking of the research about the healthcare tax, Deaton pointed out that physicians make 16% of the total one percent of the highest-earning population. 

Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development survey shows that American households paid $10,209 on healthcare per capita or per head in 2017, while their life expectancy is continuously falling.

The two honourable economists famous for their work “deaths of despair” in the US say that people age 25 to 64 are dying either of suicide, alcohol abuse, or overdose of opioids at a massive level since 2000. These are most common among white Americans who don’t have a college degree and, as a result, face employment challenges.

However, the US healthcare system is drawing attention as the Democratic presidential primaries focus on providing “Medicare for All” health insurance for the Americans. People are also trying to infuse more federal subsidies as per the Affordable Care Act to make healthcare accessible to everyone, while also designing an alternative government insurance plan.

The potential obstacles

Despite efforts made to improve the healthcare system, any reform or relief work is likely to encounter problems from wealthy lobbyists, such as doctors and insurers, in the industry. One example of the obstacle in this path can be “surprise-billing,” which forces people to pay a high medical bill because medical staff who treat them might not be the part of the network even though the patients visited the hospital covered by their insurance.

This billing system received widespread criticism, but things didn’t work out due to lobbying pressure.

Case and Deaton have won the Nobel Prize in economics. They rose to fame in recent years for their project “deaths of despair.”