What is Healthcare Spending? What Can We Do To Help?

August 12, 2015

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What is Healthcare Spending? What Can We Do To Help?
Photo courtesy of: digitalart

Healthcare Spending is Through The Roof! But How Does it Affect You?

Did you know that in 2012 the United States spent $2.8 trillion dollars on health care? That’s about $8,915 per person! Where does all this money go and how is it spent? Hospital care is the largest expenditure for health care.  Their spending includes out of pocket, private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, other public insurance, and other payers.  Other services that spend billions of dollars on health care are physician and clinical services, profession services, dental services, health, resident, and personal care services, home health care, nursing care facilities, retirement communities, prescription drugs and medical equipment.  This elevated health care spending increases the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the United States.  GDP  illustrates the pace at which the US economy is either growing or shirking.  It is the market value of goods and services produced within the country.  A high GDP can lead to an increase cost of certain goods like food and milk.  The amount of money you and your family have in your pocket is affected by the high healthcare prices.    

The United States is one of the most expensive healthcare systems in the world but we still don’t have to best healthcare compared to other countries.  A survey done by the Common Wealth that focused on the overall healthcare of 11 countries, the United States was placed dead last.  Some examples of the categories that the US ranked last on were efficiency, access, and healthy lives.  The UK and Australia only spend about $3,000 per person on healthcare and these countries are ranked the best in having better overall health outcomes.  How does it make sense that we spend so much on healthcare but still don’t have the best outcomes? This survey demonstrated that there needs to be alterations in the US healthcare system so Americans can get the best value for their investment in health.

What can we do to help slow down prominent health care spending? 

Preventing diseases can help improve the economy in the United States and improve the overall health in America.  The more people that get sick or have chronic illnesses, the more health care services that are needed to provide for the ill patients.  This demand in services requires money to be spent on healthcare.   Currently there is an obesity epidemic occurring and more people are going to be at risk for heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes and other health consequences.  As students the easiest way to prevent these diseases from occurring is to live a healthy life style! Eating right, consuming the right nutrients, and participating in physical activity are all little factors that can make a HUGE different in your health!  Check out ChooseMyPlate to educate yourself about eating right and how easy living a healthy lifestyle can truly be. 

If health care spending continues to increase, our GDP will too which can causes goods and services to increase in price.  Making simple changes on living a healthy lifestyle can prevent chronic diseases from occurring which can contribute in helping our economy to lower health care spending.   Your actions matter and they will make a difference in making this world a better place. 

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