The US Healthcare (spending and outcomes) part 2

The USA spends more on healthcare than other country on earth, both in actual dollar amount and also as a percentage of its GDP. Yet, quality indicators have the USA in the cellar position (among the world’s industrialized countries) in many of the outcome metrics. This includes a lower life expectancy rate, a higher suicide rates, and a comparable higher chronic disease burden.

The salient question is then, why for all its spending does the USA find itself in this unenviable position?

What research and analysis have shown is that the USA has the highest rates of avoidable morbidity and mortality mainly because of its population not receiving timely, high-quality care. And the reason for his delay is in large part attributed to cost; the cost of healthcare in the US and its contribution in denying access to many of our citizens. In order to alleviate this conundrum, the USA must find approaches that aim to lower health care prices.

Another important factor is the urgent need for addressing risk factors and the management of chronic conditions. Here, the suggestion is to promote and strengthen access to care and primary care systems. Easier said than done since there are affordability and availability barriers in accessing physician visits, treatments and tests   

Finally, noted is the idea of overtreatment or low-value care, which includes an overabundance of tests, treatments, and procedures, that provides little or no benefit (prevalent in the fee for service system -FFS) is common in the US and is a major contributor to the phenomenal cost. The suggestion is the switch to value-based care system which promotes conversations around evidence-based care between physicians and their patients to help evaluate which tests and treatments are truly necessary; providing the most cost-efficient quality care.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

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