Costs Increase, Quality Decreases
America now spends more per person for health care than any other country. And, as Dr. Simon points out, this cost is being paid directly and indirectly by everyone. The per capita expenditure, about $10,600 (in the aggregate 18% of our gross domestic product), now saps monies that could pay for better housing, better food, and better education.
While it’s not inherently bad to spend what’s needed to keep people healthy, as Dr. Simon convincingly documents, we are spending up to a third too much. We were not always the leaders in the health care expense race. As recently as 1970, our expenditures were about equal to those of the average developed country. Since then, we’ve jumped up by almost 5% annually, to the point at which our per capita expenditures are twice those of the average of similar developed countries. We probably would not be complaining if we were getting something better for the extra cost—it’s just that that’s not the case for most of us.