Why is Medicine So Expensive in the US?

The cost of health care is the most important factor behind U. S. health care costs, accounting for 90% of spending. This finding provides a new explanation for why U.

spending is so excessive. According to researchers at Harvard's Chan School, what marks the U. apart from other countries may be inflated prices across the board. In the U.

S., hospital services and diagnostic tests cost more, and much more money goes into planning, regulating and managing medical services at the administrative level. In other areas, despite conventional wisdom, there seems to be less discrepancy between the United States and other countries that are commonly thought of. Experts have previously suggested that high utilization rates could explain the high spending in the U. S., however, by looking at hospital discharge rates for various procedures, such as knee and hip replacements and different types of heart surgeries, the researchers found that the use of care services in the U.

is not that different compared to other countries. In fact, compared to the average for all nations, Americans seem to go to the doctor less often and spend fewer days in the hospital after being admitted. Expert groups such as the Brookings Institute have suggested that low social spending could also be partly to blame, as funding programs to help low-income families, the elderly and the disabled would mitigate the demand for health care. But then again, researchers didn't find a substantial difference in the U. S., spend less than average but not much. Another popular argument is that the US system has an unnecessarily high number of specialists, who usually earn more than general practitioners, and that increases spending.

However, according to this report, the ratio of primary care physicians to specialists was similar between the United States and other high-income countries. The real difference between the US health care system and overseas systems is pricing. Meanwhile, administrative costs accounted for 8 percent of total national health expenditures in the United States; for other countries they ranged from 1 to 3 percent. Health professionals in the United States also reported a higher level of administrative burden. A survey showed that a significant proportion of physicians consider the time they waste on matters related to insurance claims and the presentation of clinical data to be a major problem. Even so, they conclude, it is not clear whether innovation justifies high levels of spending on wages; high incomes can improve performance, and studies have suggested that some countries do not pay their health professionals enough. In addition, high salaries in the U.

may reflect the time and greater amounts of money that American health professionals must invest in their education and training. In general, researchers believe that prices in these areas should be analyzed and cut whenever possible. As the nation continues to struggle with high spending on health care, it is essential that we make progress in reducing these costs, said author Irene Papanicolas, visiting assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Harvard's Chan School. One of the most notable findings of this report is that, at least in some areas, the quality of health care in the U. isn't as bad as previously thought; long waiting times for treatment, for example, aren't as much of a problem for Americans as they are elsewhere. In fact, when it comes to treating heart attacks and strokes, the U. had the best record in any country.

Therefore, contrary to previous findings, quality of care may not be much worse in the US. But still, the nation's health system has been shown to remain least accessible; an estimated 22 percent of population missed a visit because they couldn't afford it compared to an average of 11 percent among eleven countries. The percentage of population with health insurance has increased since Affordable Care Act was passed; even so a substantial proportion of people would benefit from coverage but would remain uninsured in United States. The report sheds a new vision on how US health care system compares with its peers; fact that cost of labor pharmaceuticals and administrative organization seems to be driving spending. It also points out that despite this level of spending too many citizens are still uninsured and without coverage. In general health care expenditure can be considered as function of price (dollars charged for health care services) and utilization (amount of services used).There are several underlying factors which can increase price and utilization increasing health care spending; most notable are ageing population and prices of health care. Prices are another important factor of health care spending in United States; cost of health care services generally grows faster than cost of other goods and services in economy. Over past 20 years Consumer Price Index (CPI) average change in prices paid by urban consumers for various goods and services has grown by an average 2.1 percent per annum while CPI for healthcare has grown at an average rate 3.5 percent annually. However more research is needed to confirm reasons why health care costs are rising so rapidly; it would be one thing if our high spending on health care would lead to better health outcomes however that is not case in United States. In assessing common health metrics United States lags behind other countries despite spending more on such goods and services. Peterson Foundation spending on prescription drugs has grown exponentially in recent decades; what does American Jobs Plan include? According to David Cutler a health economist at Harvard who describes in an interview with PBS how....

Theodore Eflin
Theodore Eflin

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