Friday, January 1, 2010

Cost of Healthcare

America spends more on healthcare than any other country in the world and gets less bang for the buck. As the graphic below from National Geographic shows, spending more does not necessarily guarantee better results. But the problem may really be that Americans expect to be able to live the way they want, and have the money to pay for the health consequences of their bad choices. Most of the health problems in America come from lifestyle choices...

The United States spends more on medical care per person than any country, yet life expectancy is shorter than in most other developed nations and many developing ones. Lack of health insurance is a factor in life span and contributes to an estimated 45,000 deaths a year. Why the high cost? The U.S. has a fee-for-service system—paying medical providers piecemeal for appointments, surgery, and the like. That can lead to unneeded treatment that doesn’t reliably improve a patient’s health. Says Gerard Anderson, a professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health who studies health insurance worldwide, “More care does not necessarily mean better care.” —Michelle Andrews