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Americans Think Their Healthcare System Is the Most Advanced in the World but are they Right? Featured

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american healthcare systemAre Americans getting what they pay for when it comes to healthcare?  Here are some ways to try to compare the value of healthcare vs. cost in the United States vs other developed nations.

"Average life expectancy" is one way to measure the outcome of healthcare in the United States. According to most recent data, life expectancy in Japan is 83 years, in Germany 80.5 years;' but in the United States. only 78.7 years. The cost of health care services is extremely high in the United States and average American consumers, even if covered, do not get a greater quantity of health care services or even more convenience for the high cost they pay for health care compared to the average developed country. The average United States citizen simply pay more for each unit of that quantity.

How fast are healthcare costs rising in the U.S.? "Medical inflation tends to slow in recessions. And this is the case now in the United States. But health care prices, in recent years, have still managed to rise faster than the average prices of other items in the United States. The bottom line: An ever-increasing portion of the average households' budget is devoted to medical care. and that percentage is rising.

How does the increase cost of healthcare compare with the rate of increase experienced in other developed nations? "Health care expenditures in the United States have long been the highest and most rapidly advancing of any nation.

Will the Affordable HealthCare Act (AHA) help curb these costs? The Affordable Health Care Act includes some minor provisions to control escalating medical costs, though the legislation is mostly designed to widen health care access not control costs. Recent surveys show that for the young and healthy, the actual cost of healthcare will rise quite dramatically.Health insurance premiums for a healthy, nonsmoking, 27-year-old in a "bronze" or relatively inexpensive small-group or individual policy would increase on average by 169% ccording to a recent survey of major health insurers by the conservative American Action Forum (AAF). On a positive note premiums for an unhealthy, 55-year-old smoker in a more generous gold-rated policy would decrease by 22%, on average in 2014.

Source: Wake Forest economist Michael Lawlor; an expert on the economics of health and medicine and director of Wake Forest University's health policy.

Last modified on Friday, 22 February 2013 09:43
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