Advanced economies typically spend about 10% of GDP on keeping their citizens in good health, a share that is rising as populations age. America’s profit-riddled healthcare-industrial complex consumes 17% of GDP, equivalent to $3.6trn a year. That is unsustainable. However, changes are slowly being implemented that could lower healthcare costs.
According to a new report, life expectancy in the United States took another hit in 2021, furthering a dramatic decline from 2020 that was the largest since World War II.
Sixty percent of employees in a recent survey reported experiencing healthcare cost increases that outpaced inflation in the past three years, and 63 percent expect that trend to continue, signaling potential cost challenges in the future. Right now, annual raises are being neutralized by increasing healthcare insurance premiums. If pharma wants to retain people, they may have to develop a solution to lower healthcare insurance premiums.
Five of America’s largest health insurers reported more than $11bn in profits in the second quarter – a decline from the same period last year when the Covid-19 pandemic helped drive sky-high profits yet they are having more of a say on patients’ treatments even when HCPs disagree.
A 2015 Commonwealth Fund brief showed that — before the major provisions of the Affordable Care Act were introduced — the United States had worse outcomes and spent more on health care, primarily because of greater use of medical technology and higher prices, compared to other high-income countries. The United States ranks last overall, despite spending far more of its gross domestic product on health care. The U.S. ranks last on access to care, administrative efficiency, equity, and health care outcomes but second on care process measures.
The value of health literacy extends far beyond the boundaries of COVID-19. Education leads to fact-based empowerment, and an educated healthcare consumer can be a potent change agent. Poor health literacy is one of the reasons why life expectancy is lower in Republican-led states, and the problem has been growing worse for decades. The highest rates for covid-19 deaths and murders are found mainly in red states.
Right now, voters are worried about inflation and rising fuel prices, but they ignore the imminent threats to their healthcare. American healthcare continues to be under assault, and unless we address these issues, a severe health issue could bankrupt families.
On Thursday, the House passed a bill that limited the cost of insulin to $35 a month. However, 193 Republican members of the House did not feel that their voters needed to pay less for insulin. The price of insulin is a huge issue, but this bill subsidizes drug intermediaries at taxpayers’ expense.