The Truth About America’s health care Costs

The Truth About America’s health care Costs

© David Burton 2022


     For many years, it has been found that the high cost of health care is a burden on U.S. families, and that health care costs factor into decisions about insurance coverage and care seeking. These costs and the prospect of unexpected medical bills also rank as the top financial worries for adults and their families. Polling in 2024 showed that lowering out-of-pocket health care costs was by and large the public’s top health care priority. Health care affordability was also one of the top issues that voters wanted to hear presidential candidates talk about during the 2024 election. The following summarizes the results of the 2024 health care polling.

     About half of U.S. adults say it is difficult to afford health care costs, and one in four say they or a family member in their household had problems paying for health care in the past 12 months. Younger adults, those with lower incomes, adults in fair or poor health, and the uninsured are particularly likely to report problems affording health care in the past year.
     The cost of health care can lead some to put off needed care. One in four adults say that in the past 12 months they have skipped or postponed getting health care they needed because of the cost. Notably six in ten uninsured adults (61%) say they went without needed care because of the cost.
     The cost of prescription drugs prevents some people from filling prescriptions. About one in five adults (21%) say they have not filled a prescription because of the cost while a similar share say they have instead opted for over-the-counter alternatives. About one in ten adults say they have cut pills in half or skipped doses of medicine in the last year because of the cost.
     Those who are covered by health insurance are not immune to the burden of health care costs. About half (48%) of insured adults worry about affording their monthly health insurance premium and large shares of adults with employer-sponsored insurance (ESI) and those with Marketplace coverage rate their insurance as “fair” or “poor” when it comes to their monthly premium and to out-of-pocket costs to see a doctor.
     Health care debt is a burden for a large share of Americans. About four in ten adults (41%) report having debt due to medical or dental bills including debts owed to credit cards, collections agencies, family and friends, banks, and other lenders to pay for their health care costs, with disproportionate shares of Black and Hispanic adults, women, parents, those with low incomes, and uninsured adults saying they have health care debt.
     Notable shares of adults say they are worried about affording medical costs such as unexpected bills, the cost of health care services (including out-of-pocket costs not covered by insurance, such as co-pays and deductibles), prescription drug costs, and long-term care services for themselves or a family member. About three in four adults say they are either “very” or “somewhat worried” about being able to afford unexpected medical bills (74%) or the cost of health care services (73%) for themselves and their families. Additionally, about half of adults would be unable to pay an unexpected medical bill of $500 in full without going into debt.
     Many U.S. adults have trouble affording health care costs. While lower income and uninsured adults are the most likely to report this, those with health insurance and those with higher incomes are not immune to the high cost of medical care. About half of U.S. adults say that it is very or somewhat difficult for them to afford their health care costs (47%). Among those under age 65, uninsured adults are much more likely to say affording health care costs is difficult (85%) compared to those with health insurance coverage (47%). Additionally, at least six in ten Black adults (60%) and Hispanic adults (65%) report difficulty affording health care costs compared to about four in ten White adults (39%). Adults in households with annual incomes under $40,000 are more than three times as likely as adults in households with incomes over $90,000 to say it is difficult to afford their health care costs (69% v. 21%).
     When asked specifically about problems paying for health care in the past year, one in four adults say they or a family member in their household had problems paying for care, including three in ten adults under age 50 and those with lower household incomes (under $40,000). Affording health care is particularly a problem for those who may need it the most as one-third of adults who describe their physical health as “fair” or “poor” say they or a family member had problems paying for health care in the past 12 months. Among uninsured adults, half (49%) say they or a family member in their household had problems paying for health care, including 51% of uninsured adults who say they are in fair or poor health.
     The cost of care can also lead some adults to skip or delay seeking services. One-quarter of adults say that in the past 12 months, they have skipped or postponed getting health care they needed because of the cost. The cost of care can also have disproportionate impacts among different groups of people; for instance, women are more likely than men to say they have skipped or postponed getting health care they needed because of the cost (28% vs. 21%). Adults ages 65 and older, most of whom are eligible for health care coverage through Medicare, are much less likely than younger age groups to say they have not gotten health care they needed because of cost.
     One in four immigrant adults (22%) say they have skipped or postponed care in the past year, rising to about a third (36%) among those who are uninsured. Seven in ten (69%) of immigrant adults who skipped or postponed care (15% of all immigrant adults) said they did so due to cost or lack of health coverage.
     Six in ten uninsured adults (61%) say they have skipped or postponed getting health care they needed due to cost. Health insurance, however, does not offer ironclad protection as one in five adults with insurance (21%) still report not getting health care they needed due to cost.
     A health poll from March 2022 looked at the specific types of care adults are most likely to report putting off and found that dental services are the most common type of medical care that people report delaying or skipping, with 35% of adults saying they have put it off in the past year due to cost. This is followed by vision services (25%), visits to a doctor’s offices (24%), mental health care (18%), hospital services (14%), and hearing services, including hearing aids (10%).
     A 2022 report found that people who already have debt due to medical or dental care are disproportionately likely to put off or skip medical care. Half (51%) of adults currently experiencing debt due to medical or dental bills say in the past year, cost was a factor in deciding whether or not to get the medical test or treatment that was recommended by a doctor.
     For many U.S. adults, prescription drugs are a component of their routine care. More than one in four (28%) adults say it is either “somewhat” or “very difficult” for them to afford to pay for prescription drugs. Affording prescription drugs is particularly difficult for adults who take four or more prescription medications (37%) and those in households with annual incomes under $40,000 (40%). Black and Hispanic adults are also more likely than White adults to say it is difficult for them to afford to pay for prescription drugs.
     The high cost of prescription drugs also leads some people to cut back on their medications in various ways. About one in five adults (21%) say in the past 12 months they have not filled a prescription because of the cost. A similar share (21%) say they have taken an over-the-counter drug instead of getting a prescription filled – rising to about one third of Hispanic adults (32%) and more than one in four adults (27%) with annual household incomes under $40,000. About one in ten adults say that in the past 12 months they have cut pills in half or skipped doses of medicine due to cost.
     Overall, most insured adults rate their health insurance as “excellent” or “good” when it comes to the amount they have to pay out-of-pocket for their prescriptions (61%), the amount they have to pay out-of-pocket to see a doctor (53%), and the amount they pay monthly for insurance (54%). However, at least three in ten rate their insurance as “fair” or “poor” on each of these metrics, and affordability ratings vary depending on the type of coverage people have.
     Adults who have private insurance through employer-sponsored insurance or Marketplace coverage are more likely than those with Medicare or Medicaid to rate their insurance negatively when it comes to their monthly premium, the amount they have to pay out of pocket to see a doctor, and their prescription co-pays. About one in four adults with Medicare give negative ratings to the amount they have to pay each month for insurance and to their out-of-pocket prescription costs, while about one in five give their insurance a negative rating when it comes to their out-of-pocket costs to see a doctor.
     Medicaid enrollees are less likely than those with other coverage types to give their insurance negative ratings on these affordability measures (Medicaid does not charge monthly premiums in most states, and copays for covered services, where applied, are required to be nominal.)
     In June 2022, an analysis found that health care debt was a wide-reaching problem in the United States and that 41% of U.S. adults had some type of debt due to medical or dental bills from their own or someone else’s care, including about a quarter of adults (24%) who said they had medical or dental bills that were past due or that they were unable to pay, and one in five (21%) who had bills they were paying off over time directly to a provider. One in six (17%) reported debt owed to a bank, collection agency, or other lender from loans taken out to pay for medical or dental bills, while similar shares said they had health care debt from bills they put on a credit card and were paying off over time (17%). One in ten reported debt owed to a family member or friend from money they borrowed to pay off medical or dental bills.
     While four in ten U.S. adults had some type of health care debt, disproportionate shares of lower income adults, the uninsured, Black and Hispanic adults, women, and parents reported current debt due to medical or dental bills.
     A February 2024 health tracking poll showed unexpected medical bills and the cost of health care services were at the top of the list of people’s financial worries, with about three-quarters of the public – and similar shares of insured adults younger than 65 – saying they were at least somewhat worried about affording unexpected medical bills (74%) or the cost of health care services (73%) for themselves and their families. Just over half (55%) of the public say they were “very” or “somewhat worried” about being able to afford their prescription drug costs, while about half (48%) of insured adults said they were worried about affording their monthly health insurance premium.
     Worries about health care costs pervade among a majority of adults regardless of their financial situation. Among adults who report difficulty affording their monthly bills, more than eight in ten say they are worried about the cost of health care services (86%) or unexpected medical bills (83%). Among those who report being just able to afford their bills, about eight in ten say they are worried about being able to afford unexpected medical bills (84%) or health care services (83%). And even among adults who say they can afford their bills with money left over, six in ten nonetheless say they are “very” or “somewhat worried” about being able to afford unexpected medical bills (62%) or the cost of health care services (60%) for themselves and their family.
     Many U.S. adults may be one unexpected medical bill from falling into debt. About half of U.S. adults say they would not be able to pay an unexpected medical bill that came to $500 out of pocket. This includes one in five (19%) who would not be able to pay it at all, 5% who would borrow the money from a bank, payday lender, friends or family to cover the cost, and one in five (21%) who would incur credit card debt in order to pay the bill. Women, those with lower household incomes, Black and Hispanic adults are more likely than their counterparts to say they would be unable to afford this type of bill.
     Among older adults, the costs of long-term care and support services are also a concern. Almost six in ten (57%) adults 65 and older say they are at least “somewhat anxious” about affording the cost of a nursing home or assisted living facility if they needed it, and half say they feel anxious about being able to afford support services such as paid nurses or aides. These concerns also loom large among those between the ages of 50 and 64, with more than seven in ten saying they feel anxious about affording residential care (73%) and care from paid nurses or aides (72%) if they were to need these services.[Ref. 1]

     In America in the recent past, nearly one in every five dollars spent was on health care, a larger share than in any other country. Many of the culprits are well-known. Americans have more procedures, pay more for them, and face exorbitant administrative costs. One driver of ever-rising costs has often been overlooked: politicians. [Ref. 2] In addition to politicians, other factors impacting healthcare costs include the following:

Prescription Drugs

     A major cost impact culprit is claimed to be prescription drugs.

  • ”The sickest 5% of Americans account for at least 50% of all health care spending, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study.
  • ”Prescription drugs now eat up an astounding 40% of all the health spending among high-cost patients, the study found.
  • ”The data underscore the importance — and cost — of prescription drugs in treating people with serious illnesses such as HIV, MS, cystic fibrosis, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and cancer.
     “If you tuned into [the August 2019] Democratic presidential debates you got an earful on runaway health costs and various proposals to solve the health care access problem. But amid the talk of Medicare for All, universal care, a public option, and other bold proposals, one underlying issue continue[d] to dominate the discussion inside and outside of Washington: The high-cost of pharmaceutical drugs.
     “[An] analysis by Kaiser Family Foundation add[ed] new light on exactly who bears the brunt of these costs and why.
     “Just 5% of all Americans account for at least 50% of health care spending, [Emphasis mine] according to the Kaiser study. That makes sense. Of course the sickest people spend the most on health care.
     “But what may be more surprising is the fact that prescription drugs account for an astounding 40% of spending among high-cost patients, [Emphasis mine] pointing out once again how disproportionate the cost of prescription drugs can be . . .
     " ‘A very small group of patients with major illnesses is responsible for an outsized share of health care spending,’ . . . This new research shows that prescription drugs are a big part of the reason their bills are so high.
       - - -
     “For now, despite the clear data showing how huge the drug cost burden can be, especially among the sickest patients, how to lower those cost remains an open question.” [Emphasis mine] (Ref. 3)

The Elderly

     A group that is being blamed for high health care costs is the population of Americans over the age of 65, our senior citizens. Yes, “health care costs are soaring, but don’t blame old people. The per-person allocation for those over 65 is actually shrinking. Health care expenditures have doubled since 2002, but most of that change can be attributed to the 91% increase in costs for those aged 18 to 64. In the last 10 years, the percentage of the US population over 65 has grown from 12% to 16%, but its share of total health care spending has remained flat, meaning the per-person allocation for those over 65 is actually shrinking.” [Ref. 4]

     According to Reference 4, here are some interesting facts about health care costs in the United States, as of 2016:

Total health care expenditures:
     Over age 65 – less than $0.6 trillion;
     Ages 18-64   – more than $0.8 trillion;
     Under age 18    - < $0.2 trillion.

     The Share of costs per person for those 65 and over is actually decreasing. - - - First off, they’re healthier than ever. {The percentage of unhealthy seniors has fallen from 27% in 1998 to 21% in 2016.} And older people take better care of themselves than middle-aged adults – The percentage of people over 65 who used recommended services is greater than the percentage of people between the ages of 35-64. Meanwhile, share of costs per person for those under 65 is increasing.

Government Policy and Lifestyle Changes

     “In 2017, U.S. health care costs were $3.5 trillion. That makes health care one of the country's largest industries. It equals 17.9% of gross domestic product. In comparison, health care cost $27.2 billion in 1960, just 5% of GDP. That translates to an annual health care cost of $10,739 per person in 2017 versus just $147 per person in 1960. Health care costs have risen faster than the median annual income.” (Ref. 5)

     For comparison, the U.S. defense spending - in 2018 - amounted to only 3.2% of GDP as compared to the 17.9% of GDP for American health care in 2017.[Ref. 6] What caused the enormous rise in health care costs in America between 1960 and 2017?

     “There were two causes of this massive increase: government policy and lifestyle changes.
     “First, the United States relies on company-sponsored private health insurance. The government created programs like Medicare and Medicaid to help those without insurance. These programs spurred demand for health care services. That gave providers the ability to raise prices. [Emphasis mine] A paper in Health Affairs . . . found that Americans use the same amount of health care as residents of other nations. They just pay more for them. [Emphasis mine] For example, U.S. hospital prices are 60% higher than those in Europe. Government efforts to reform health care and cut costs raised them instead. [Emphasis mine]
     “Second, chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and heart disease, have increased. As of 2010, the health care costs of people with at least one chronic condition are responsible for more than 85% of health care spending. Almost half of all Americans have at least one of them. They are expensive and difficult to treat. As a result, the sickest 5% of the population consume 50% of total health care costs. The healthiest 50% only consume 3% of the nation's health care costs. [Emphasis mine] Most of these patients are Medicare patients. The U.S. medical profession does a heroic job of saving lives. But it comes at a cost. Medicare spending for patients in the last year of life is six times greater than the average. [Emphasis mine] Care for these patients costs one-fourth of the Medicare budget. In their last six months of life, these patients go to the doctor's office around 25 times on average. In their last month of life, half go to the emergency room. One-third wind up in the intensive care unit. One fifth undergo surgery.” (Ref. 5)

Government Policy

     As health insurance expanded, it covered more people and the demand for health care services rose. By 1965, households paid out-of-pocket for 44% of all medical expenses. Health insurance paid for 24%.
     Medicare and Medicaid covered more people and allowed them to use more health care services. Medicaid allowed seniors citizens to move into expensive nursing home facilities. As demand increased, so did prices. Health care providers put more money into research. It created more innovative, but expensive, technologies.
     Medicare helped create an overreliance on hospital care. Emergency room treatment is very expensive, making up one-third of all health care costs in America. An astonishing one out of five adults use the emergency room each year.
     In 1986, Congress passed the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act. It forced hospitals to accept anyone who showed up at the emergency room. Prescription drug costs rose by 12.1% a year. One reason is that the FDA allowed prescription drug companies to advertise on television - a curse that has only worsened over time. Pharmaceutical companies invented new types of prescription drugs. They advertised straight to consumers and created additional demand. The number of drugs with sales that topped $1 billion increased to 52 in 2006 from six in 1997. The U.S. government approved expensive drugs even if they were not much better than existing remedies.
     In 2003, the Medicare Modernization Act added Medicare Part D to cover prescription drug coverage. It also changed the name of Medicare Part C to the Medicare Advantage program. The number of people using those plans tripled to 17.6 million by 2016. Those costs rose faster than the cost of Medicare itself.
     The nation’s reliance on the health insurance model increased administration costs. A 2003 study found that administration costs made up 30% of U.S. health care costs. It's twice the administrative costs in Canada. About half of that is due to the complexity of billing.
     For example, U.S. private doctors' offices use at least 11% of their revenue on administration. A big reason is that there are so many types of payers. In addition to Medicare and Medicaid, there are thousands of different private insurers. Each has its own requirements, forms, and procedures. Hospitals and doctors must also chase down people who don't pay their portion of the bill.
     The reliance on corporate private insurance created health care inequality. Those without insurance often couldn't afford visits to a primary care physician. By 2009, half of the people (46.3%) who used a hospital said they went because they had no other place to go for health care. The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act required hospitals to treat anyone who showed up in the emergency room. Uncompensated care costs hospitals more than $38 billion per year, some of which is passed on to the government.[Ref. 5]

Lifestyle Changes

     [Another] cause of rising health care costs is an epidemic of preventable diseases. The four leading causes of death are heart disease, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, and stroke. Chronic health conditions cause most of them. They can either be prevented or would cost less to treat if caught in time. Risk factors for heart disease and strokes are poor nutrition and obesity. Smoking is a risk factor for lung cancer (the most common type) and COPD. Obesity is also a risk factor for the other common forms of cancer.
     Prior to 2020, these diseases cost more than $5,000 per person. The average cost of treating diabetes, for example, was $9,601 per person. These diseases are difficult to manage because patients get tired of taking the various medications. Those who cut back find themselves in the emergency room with heart attacks, strokes, and other complications. [Ref. 6)

     As noted, the high health care costs in the United States are due to numerous causes – bloated prescription drug costs, government policy, bad lifestyles, belief in the something-for-nothing fairy, and more. It will take a colossal effort to reverse the trend of ever-increasing health care spending in the United States. One step in this direction would be to have the consumer of health care services shoulder more of its cost directly. This might well force the consumer to search for ways to lower health care costs, e.g., shop for lower prices, avoid unnecessary visits to medical facilities, improve lifestyle, demand reduced administrative costs, etc.

     America must do away with the attitude of: “If I don’t have to pay for it directly, I’ll use it and the more the better.“ America must come to realize that government “freebies” are never free. Ultimately, someone has to foot the bill. Health insurance is not free, Medicare is not free, Medicaid is not free, Obamacare is not free, and government payments for health care of the uninsured are not free.

     High healthcare spending is not necessarily a bad thing, especially if it leads to better health outcomes. However, as of 2019, that was not the case in the U.S. When evaluating common health metrics, the U.S. lagged behind other countries despite higher healthcare spending.[Ref. 7]

     The cost of health care in the United States far exceeds that in other wealthy nations across the globe. At the same time, the United States lags far behind other high-income countries when it comes to both access to care and some health care outcomes. As a result, policymakers and health care systems are facing increasing demands for more care at lower costs for more people. And, of course, everyone wants to know why their health care costs are so high.
     The answer depends, in part, on who’s asking this question: Why does U.S. health care cost so much? Public policy often highlights and targets the total cost of the health care system or spending as a percentage of the gross domestic product (GDP), while most patients (the public) are more concerned with their own out-of-pocket costs and whether they have access to affordable, meaningful insurance. Providers feel public pressure to contain costs while trying to provide the highest-quality care to patients.
     Total U.S. health care spending has increased steadily for decades, as have costs and spending in other segments of the U.S. economy. In 2020, health care spending was $1.5 trillion more than in 2010 and $2.8 trillion more than in 2000. While total spending on clinical care increased in the two decades prior to 2020, health care spending as a percentage of GDP remained steady and hovered around 20% of GDP (with the largest single increase being in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic). No single sector’s health care cost — doctors, hospitals, equipment, or any other sector — increased disproportionately enough over time to be the single cause of high costs.
     One of the areas in health care with the highest levels of spending in the United States is hospital care, which has accounted for about 30% of national health care spending for the past 60 years (and has remained very close to 31% for the past 20 years). Although hospital spending is the focus of many cost-control policies and public attention, the increases are consistent with the increases seen across other areas of health care, such as for physicians and other professional services.
     Total spending for some smaller parts of nonhospital care has more than doubled over the past few decades and makes up an increasing proportion of total spending. For instance, home health care as a percentage of total spending tripled between 1980 and 2020, from 0.9% to 3.0%, and drug spending nearly doubled as a proportion of health care spending between 1980 and 2006, from 4.8% to 10.5%.
     The largest areas of spending that might yield the greatest potential for savings — such as inpatient care and physician-provided care — are unlikely to be reduced by lowering the total number of insured patients or visits per person, given the growing, aging U.S. population and the desire to cover more, not fewer, individuals with adequate health insurance.
     But policymaker and insurer interventions intended to change the mix of services by keeping patients out of high-cost settings (such as the hospital) have not always succeeded at reducing costs.
     Thinking about total health care spending as an equation, one might define it as the number of services delivered per person multiplied by the number of people to whom services are delivered, multiplied again by the average cost of each service:

     Health Care Spending = (number of services delivered per person) × (number of people
     to whom services are delivered) × (average cost of each service).

     Could health care spending be lowered by making major changes to the numbers or types of services delivered or by lowering the average cost per service? Although recent data on the overall utilization of health care are limited, in 2011, the number of doctor consultations per capita in the United States was below that in many comparable countries, but the number of diagnostic procedures (such as imaging) per capita remained higher. Furthermore, no identifiable groups of individuals (by race/ethnicity, geographic location, etc.) appear to be outliers that consume extraordinary numbers of services. No surprise - the exception is that the sickest people do cost more to take care of, but even the most cost-conscious policymakers appear to be reluctant to abandon these patients.
     It may come as a surprise that, in addition to the fact that the average number of health care services delivered per person in the United States was below international benchmarks in 2020, the percentage of people in the United States covered by health insurance was also lower than that in many other wealthy nations. Although millions of people gained insurance through the Affordable Care Act and provisions enacted during the COVID-19 pandemic, 10% of the nonelderly population remained uninsured in 2020. When policymakers focus on reducing health care spending, considering the equation above, and see that the United States already has a lower proportion of its population insured and fewer services delivered to patients than other wealthy nations, their focus often shifts to the average cost of services.
     A report comparing the international prices of health care in 2017 found that the median list prices (charges) for medical procedures in the United States heavily outweighed the list prices in other countries, such as the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, Switzerland, and South Africa.
     For example, the 2017 U.S. median health care list price for a hospital admission with a hip replacement was $32,500, compared with $20,900 in Australia and $12,200 in the United Kingdom. In comparisons of the list prices of other procedures, such as deliveries by cesarean section, appendectomies, and knee replacements, the U.S. median list prices of elective and needed services were thousands of dollars — if not tens of thousands of dollars — more. Yet, the list price for these services in the United States is often much higher than the actual payments made to providers by public or private insurance companies.
     Public-payer programs (particularly Medicare and Medicaid) tend to pay hospitals rates that are lower than the cost of delivering care while private payers historically have paid about twice as much as public payers. However, the average cost per service is still high by international standards, even if it’s not as high as list prices may suggest. The high average costs are partially driven by the highly labor-intensive nature of health care, with labor consuming almost 55% of the share of total U.S. hospital costs in 2018. These costs were growing due to the labor shortages exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
     A majority of the country agrees that the federal government should ensure some basic health insurance for all citizens. Out-of-pocket spending for health care has doubled in the past 20 years, from $193.5 billion in 2000 to $388.6 billion in 2020. These rising health care costs have disproportionately fallen on those with the fewest resources, including people who are uninsured, Black people, Hispanic people, and families with low incomes. Increased cost sharing through copays and coinsurance may force difficult spending choices for even solidly middle-class families.
     In any given year, a small number of patients account for a disproportionate amount of health care spending because of the complexity and severity of their illnesses.
     To the average person in the United States, immediate cost-control efforts might best be focused on reducing the cost burden for families and patients. Policymakers should continue to seek ways to promote better health care quality at lower costs rather than try to achieve unrealistic, drastic reductions in national health care spending. Investing in prevention, seeking to avoid preventable admissions or readmissions, and otherwise improving the quality of care are desirable, but these improvements are not quick solutions to lowering the national health care costs in the near term. Long-term policy actions could incrementally address health care spending but should clearly articulate the problem to be solved, the desired outcomes, and the trade-offs the nation is willing to make.
     The U.S. health care system continues to place a disproportionate cost burden on the patients who can least afford it. In the short term, policymakers could focus on targeted subsidies to specific populations — the families and individuals whose household incomes fall outside the average or who have health care expenses that fall outside the average — whose health care costs are unmanageable. Such subsidies could expand existing premium subsidies or triggers that increase support for costs that exceed target amounts. Targeted subsidies are likely to increase total health care spending (especially public spending) but would address the problem of cost from the average consumer, or patient, perspective. Broader policies to ease costs for patients could also be considered by category of service; for instance, consumers have been largely shielded from the increased costs of care related to COVID-19 by the waiving of copays for patients and families. These policies would likely increase national spending as well, but they would make medical care more affordable to some families.[Ref. 8]
  1. Americans’ Challenges with Health Care Costs, Lunna Lopes, Alex Montero, Marley Presiado, and Liz Hamel, KFF,
    1 March 2024.
  2. Blame Congress for high health care costs, The Economist, 2 September 2017.
  3. Wondering why health care costs are so high? Blame it on the drugs, Walecia Konrad,, 2 August, 2019.
  4. health care costs are soaring, but don’t blame old people, Tate Ryan-Mosley, MIT Technology Review, 21 August 2019.
  5. The Rising Cost of Health Care by Year and Its Causes, Kimberly Amadeo, the balance, 28 February 2020.
  6. The Biggest Military Budgets As A Share Of GDP In 2018, Niall McCarthy, Forbes, 29 April 2019.
  7. WHY ARE AMERICANS PAYING MORE FOR HEALTHCARE?, Peter G. Peterson Foundation, 15 March 2019.
  8. Health Care Costs: What’s the Problem?, Atul Grover, MD, PhD; Kendal Orgera, MPH, MPP; and Laura Pincus, MHA,, 17 August 2022.

  30 May 2024 {Article 625; U.S. Gov't_98}    
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