PoliticsHealth Care


Report: Health care spending is up, Americans are dying younger

A public health expert says the U.S. needs to spend money on health care that helps American lifespans.
Posted at 6:42 PM, Feb 08, 2023

new report by the Commonwealth Fund found that the U.S. spends nearly 18% of its gross domestic product on health care. Yet Americans are dying younger and are less healthy than those in other high-income countries.

The question is, why?

"This report brings together the fundamental contradiction in American health care. We pay more than any other country and yet, we die earlier. We have worse health outcomes," said Joshua Sharfstein, a professor of practice at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health who has expertise in public health strategies and regulatory policies that advance health.

"Our life expectancy fell by more than two and a half years during the pandemic. We are now 40th and falling in the ranking of countries by life expectancy," he said.

Some of the main findings from the report include that the U.S. has the highest rate of people with multiple chronic conditions, and Americans see physicians less often than people in most other countries. However, rates for breast and colon cancer screenings are among the highest.

Experts say the current system needs some changes to address some of these industry-wide issues.

"The fundamental question is, how do we spend money for health care in a way that makes us a healthier country?" Sharfstein said.

Patients, loved ones struggle to pay rising health care costs

Patients, loved ones struggle to pay rising health care costs

One man and his wife downsized and sold most of their belongings to pay for his medical costs as he fights brain cancer.