Why are Americans spending more on health expenses and not getting any healthier?
Firstly, there is a much wider range of expensive medical services in the US and Americans see specialists more frequently than primary care physicians, resulting in higher fees and more expensive treatment plans. Another reason for healthcare expenditures in the the U.S is the allocation of funds towards medical devices including MRI machines, CT scan machines, and X -ray equipment. The U.S has 36% more MRI machines to annual scans than any other country. This equipment is very expensive and America has an excess of these machines on standby which is great for citizens when needed but can be costly long term. According to The Atlantic “the U.S. delivers (population adjusted) almost three times as many mammograms, two-and-a-half times the number of MRI scans, and 31 percent more C-sections.”
It would seem that since Americans have access to more specialty medical services and equipment, health outcomes would increase along with the cost. Unfortunately, that is not the case. One major reason is the inequality of spend on healthcare. According to Our World in Data, expenditure has grown in the US without insurance expansion and the spend is concentrated. Just 5% of Americans make up almost half of the money spent on healthcare. This inequality attributes to the stagnant health outcomes because the people who cannot afford healthcare remain sick because they can’t get the help they need.
Major changes will have to be made to reduce healthcare costs in America. Only the government can regulate costs in the industry, subsidise the poor and require all citizens to participate. Without these conditions, health insurance cannot expand to cover all American citizens. Insurance expansion will ultimately lower number of illnesses and deaths, which in turn will raise the life expectancy of Americans.