The U.S. spends 16 percent of its gross domestic product on health care—twice as much as the typical industrialized nation, and growth in health spending in recent
years has outpaced that of other major countries. On eight efficiency indicators, the Commission scorecard averages 51 out of 100—in other words, average U.S. performance would have to double to reach the best benchmarks.
Too Many Admissions and Readmissions
. Inadequate access to primary care,
whether during regular office hours or after-hours, contributes to expensive visits to the emergency room or admission to the hospital. Americans are more likely to report use of emergency rooms for conditions that could have been treated by a primary care physician, if available. Hospitalization for potentially preventable conditions such as congestive heart failure, diabetes, and pediatric asthma vary two- to four-fold. Bringing national rates of preventable hospitalizations down by 10 percent to 20 percent could save $4 billion to $8 billion annually.