The focus on money is part of the third (and greatest) failure point of the US medical system – the sheer cost of medical care. US medical bills have been rising at an astonishing clip over the last half century, from $256 billion nationwide in 1980 to $2.6 trillion (a tenfold increase) in 2010. The causes for this are complicated, and will be addressed elsewhere [***link!]; the important thing to note here is that this massive increase in the cost of medical services has had a large, growing, and overwhelmingly negative impact on other parts of the American system.
All of this adds up to a system where Americans pay more for their medical care than anybody else in the world (far more, in most comparisons) but have much worse health outcomes than most other developed nations. As a result, the US ranks 47th in the world in infant mortality and 50th in the world in life expectancy in a recent NIH study. This combination – massive costs and appallingly bad outcomes – is the real problem with the healthcare system in America.
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