Health care spending in the US is a point of contention, with Americans constantly bickering over the best way to administrate and deliver treatment and care in a highly politically polarized environment.
On one side of the debate are many that feel health care spending should be managed through the government, being as the US stands alone in the first world when it comes to privatizing health care. The other half of Americans prefer a system with third-party health care spending, citing “freedom” and “responsibility” to choose in what they believe is the world’s most envied health care system.
As it would happen, not so much. A new study by health-care think tank The Commonwealth Fund reveals that while many Americans are laboring under the impression that the health care system in the United States is second to none, most Americans actually pay more for and receive less health care than those in comparably wealthy nations.
The fact that health care spending is higher and less efficient in the US is not news, but the Commonwealth Fund’s research underscores some of the numbers when it comes to how badly our system stacks up against other countries in healthcare outcomes. When it comes just to money spent, Americans shell out three times as much as those in Japan and New Zealand for our healthcare, and a third more than those in Norway and Switzerland.
As far as money spent on healthcare, however, the US is number one- while our outcomes fall short, we 17% of our gross national product is devoted to health care spending. A Commonwealth Fund news release explains:
“It is a common assumption that Americans get more health care services than people in other countries, but in fact we do not go to the doctor or the hospital as often. The higher prices we pay for health care and perhaps our greater use of expensive technology are the more likely explanations for high health spending in the U.S. Unfortunately, we do not seem to get better quality for this higher spending.”
The research cites the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, as a way Americans can improve outcomes and reduce health care spending.