National Health Care Spending in the U.S.
Traci C Stewart
May 12, 2014
Health care in the United States is provided by many distinct organizations. Accordingly, the US Census Bureau (2010) reported that health care facilities are largely owned and operated by private sector businesses. While sixty-two percent of hospitals are non-profit, 20% are government owned, and 18% are for-profit. Furthermore, 60–65% of healthcare provision and spending comes from programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE, the Children's Health Insurance Program, and the Veterans Health Administration. Most of the population under 67 is either insured by themselves or a family member's employer, buy health insurance on their own, and the remainder are uninsured. Health insurance for public sector employees is primarily provided by the government.
Still, the United States has a life expectancy of 78.4 years at birth, up from 75.2 years in 1990, and is ranked 50th among 221 nations, and 27th out of the 34 industrialized countries, down from 20th in 1990. Of 17 high-income countries studied by the National Institutes of Health in 2013, the United States had the highest or near-highest prevalence of infant mortality, heart and lung disease, sexually transmitted infections, adolescent pregnancies, injuries, homicides, and disability. Together, such issues place the U.S. at the bottom of the list for life expectancy. On average, a U.S. male can be expected to live almost four fewer years than those in the top-ranked country (NIH, 2013). Thesis Statement
As dismal as the statistics are, in recent years, policy makers as well as leading economists have focused a considerable amount of attention on aggregate spending increases in health care and how health care spending impacts the United States economy. Thereby, specific emphasis has been given to identifying and examining distinctive factors that have contributed to spending growth, and proposing solutions for reduction. Seemingly, factors that have contributed to spending growth encompass changes in health care utilization, population demographics, price inflation, and advances in medical technology. Thus, as more and more advanced scientific technology is developed the costs associated with providing quality health care increases.
With that said, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), the United States spent more on health care per capita ($8,608), and more on health care as percentage of its GDP (17.2%), than any other nation in 2011. Yet, the United States ranked last in the quality of health care among similar countries, and notes United States care costs the most. Similarly, in a 2013 Bloomberg ranking of nations with the most efficient health care systems, the United States ranks 46th among the 48 countries included in the study. The U.S. Census Bureau reported that 49.9 million residents, 16.3% of the population, were uninsured in 2010 (up from 49.0 million residents, 16.1% of the population, in 2009). In addition, a 2004 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report said: "The United States is among the few industrialized nations in the world that does not guarantee access to health care for its population.” Further, "with the exception of Mexico, Turkey, and the United States, all of the other countries had achieved universal or near-universal (at least 98.4% insured) coverage of their populations by 1990;" and recent evidence demonstrates that lack of health insurance causes some 45,000 to 48,000 unnecessary deaths every year in the United States. In 2007, 62.1% of filers for bankruptcies claimed high medical expenses, and 25% of all senior citizens declare bankruptcy due to medical expenses, and 43% are forced to mortgage or sell their primary residence.
On March 23, 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) became law, providing for major changes in health...
References: Institute of Medicine (2004). Retrieved from http://.www.institutesofmedicine, May 09, 2014.
National Institute of Health (2013). Retrieved from http://.www.nationalinstituteofhealth,
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U. S. Census Bureau (2010). Retrieved from http://.www.uscensusbureau, May 10, 2014.
World Health Organization (2014). Retrieved from http://.www.worldhealthorganization,
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www.healthcare.gov (2014). Retrieved from http://.www.healthcare.gov. May 10, 2014
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