04 January 2017

The Glory of the US Medical Industrial Complex

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Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist
Our healthcare system under-performs by any sane measure of efficiency or outcomes:
Historically, the United States has spent more money than any other country on healthcare.

In the late 1990s, for example, the U.S. spent roughly 13% of GDP on healthcare, compared to about a 9.5% average for all high income countries.

However, in recent years, the difference has become more stark. Last year, as Obamacare continued to roll out, costs in the U.S. reached an all-time high of 17.5% of GDP. That’s over $3 trillion spent on healthcare annually, and the rate of spending is expected accelerate over the next decade.


Today’s chart comes to us from economist Max Roser (h/t @NinjaEconomics) and it shows the extreme divergence of the U.S. healthcare system using two simple stats: life expectancy vs. health expenditures per capita.


Not only is U.S. healthcare spending wildly inefficient, but it’s also relatively ineffective. It would be one thing to spend more money and get the same results, but according to the above data that is not true. In fact, Americans on average will have shorter lives people in other high income countries.

Life expectancy in the U.S. has nearly flatlined, and it hasn’t yet crossed the 80 year threshold. Meanwhile, Chileans, Greeks, and Israelis are all outliving their American counterparts for a fraction of the associated costs.
For any improvements that Obamacare has made to the medical situation, we still have narrow networks, balance billing, and a system where it is literally impossible to avoid being charged for out of network services, all the things that prevent people from seeking help except when the situation is dire.

Then again, Obama is getting lots of funding for his presidential library and his foundation from Wall Street and health insurance types, so I guess it all works out for him.

Just imagine what he could have netted if he had gotten the TPP through.  That library would have gold plated bidets in its executive offices.

H/t The Big Picture


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