Americans pay more than one and a half trillion dollars for medical care each year and costs related to all manner of health care, such as prescription drugs, continue to skyrocket. While some of reasons behind this booming bill are understandable, Americans caught in a cash crunch might be surprised to find out some of the lesser-known causes of high health care costs.
The words health care might invoke images of doctors, nurses and hospitals, but the reality is that the medical field is a business and a ruthless one at that. Individual practitioners, researchers and participants may have wonderful intentions and a true desire to help people, but the structure of the American health care system ensures profit is the number one issue of importance.
Here are some facts that may help explain the high costs of American health care:
Pharmaceutical research and development companies spend roughly $20 billion each year on R&D, and about the same amount on advertising and self-promotional marketing activities.
There is sure to be a grin on your face once you get to read this article on health insurance. This is because you are sure to realize that all this matter is so obvious, you wonder how come you never got to know about it!
Additionally, drug companies have as many sales people as there are doctors in the United States. One of the responsibilities of this sales force is to convince doctors to attend pharmaceutical company-sponsored seminars where drugs are showcased.
According to some economists, the purchase of new technology is responsible for more than 50 percent of new health care spending over the last three years.
Much of the money Americans pay for health care finds its way into the rising profits on health care-related products and services such as the provision of medical insurance. Even higher costs have been forecasted for the future, especially for prescription drugs.
For many Americans who are unable to afford the health care they need, rising costs represent an ever-increasing barrier to medical services and products. The financial burden is also felt on the larger national scale with about 15 percent of gross domestic product going toward health care costs. That is equal to about one quarter of the annual federal budget.
Comparatively, Canada invests around 10 percent of its GDP on its public health care program. Unlike the United States, Canada’s health care program is universally available to all citizens and permanent residents without cost. Other countries, such as Germany, where there is a public/private delivery system model for health care, manage to serve their populations for even less while still having better longevity than Americans. This proves that the quality of health care does not rise proportionally with the amount of money spent to attain it.