US Spending On Healthcare Blamed On Higher Prices.
Politico (5/3, Smith) reports, “The United States spends more on health care than 12 other industrialized countries, a new Commonwealth Fund study finds â€“ but that doesn’t mean this country’s care is any better.” At a per capita cost of “nearly $8,000” the report found that “health care spending in the US dwarfs,” the others’ spending with “Norway and Switzerland…a distant second and third…at a little more than $5,000.” Meanwhile the US “ranked at the bottom for the number of doctor consultations … had shorter hospital stays,” and “a smaller number of hospital beds.” The report attributes spending to “high prices for medication and medical services, as well as a good deal of use of expensive technology,” and a high rate of obesity. It also found that “quality in the US health care system is variable and not notably superior,” to compared countries which are “Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.”
National Journal (5/3, Sanger-katz, Subscription Publication) reports, “The staggering $8,000 per person that the United States spends on health care can’t be explained by our aging population, our overuse of doctors and hospitals, our wealth, or our rates of smoking.” Instead, “the Commonwealth Fund concludes that high health care prices are the major culprit. US patients pay more to doctors, drug companies, and hospitals than patients in other countries. Other possible factors are our high rates of obesity and a possible tendency to overuse a few particularly expensive procedures.”
Healthcare IT News (5/3, Monegain) reports, “Higher prices and greater use of technology appear to be the main factors driving the high rates of US spending on healthcare, rather than greater use of physician and hospital services.” The US also has “among the highest rates of potentially preventable deaths from asthma and amputations due to diabetes, and rates that are no better than average for in-hospital deaths from heart attack and stroke.”