Guess the Big Number: How Much Does Mass. Spend On Health Care?

Remember those estimation games from elementary school or the state fair? There's a great big bowl full of beans or candy, and whoever guesses closest to the actual number wins a prize — or the bowl of goodies itself.

Well, we're doing the same thing for Massachusetts health care costs. For her own nefarious purposes, WBUR's Martha Bebinger has just determined the amount that Massachusetts spent on health care last year, and the percentage of our state GDP that comprises.

Care to take a guess and post it as a comment? No fair if you actually know. If you've seen the number, please hold your comment until tomorrow. This is just an exercise in estimating — but of a number with huge significance. Martha notes: "There is no other sector where we spend this much money with no budget controls, with no knowledge of what we are spending and no attempt to find the best care for the best price."

Check back tomorrow for the answer. The prize? Accolades from us. Sorry it's not more, but we can't afford even one one-billionth of the pot...!

This program aired on February 2, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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Carey Goldberg Editor, CommonHealth
Carey Goldberg is the editor of WBUR's CommonHealth section.



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