Why the United States Makes Such a Huge investment in Health Care
When it comes to health care, the United States spends about twice as much on health care, as a percentage of its economy than other industrialized nations (CNBC, 2018). This amount totals to $3.3 trillion, or 17.9 percent of gross domestic product in 2016 (CNBC, 2018). This puts the US health care spending well above similar industrialized countries. But, there was a time when American health care spending was closer to other countries. What changed between then, and now? One word: Prices.
In the United States, we use generally use the same amount of health care as other similar countries, but pay much more for it. To answer the question of why the United States health care is so expensive, a study was done by JAMA scholars from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Seattle and the U.C.L.A school of medicine (CNBC, 2018). The study ran from 1996 to 2013, and focused on how the US spends personal health dollars by the size of the population. These factors included age, and the amount of disease present within the population. In addition to this, the scholars analyzed how much health care is use in terms of visiting the doctor, hospital stay, and the price of care. Unfortunately, this study was unable to pinpoint exactly why prices are so high, but key findings were brought to light. It was found that US hospital prices are 60 percent higher than in Europe.
There are some solutions that could be made to conquer these rising health care prices. In Maryland, an “all-payer system” is used. This system regulates prices in order for insurers and public programs to pay the same amount. If this system was used nationally, there would definitely be push-back from those who benefit from these high prices such as physicians, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and health care providers. Hopefully, with these high prices, it will lead to medical innovation, and benefit patients all over the world.