High U.S. Health Care Spending: It’s Still About the Prices

eAlert 97c84415-f012-4d82-9a56-7a001917183f

<p>When the Commonwealth Fund released its most recent health care rankings last summer, the United States was last among 11 high-income countries. Despite spending the most by far on health care, the U.S. is outperformed by these other nations on a host of measures..</p><p>Today, a new analysis in <em>JAMA </em>by Irene Papanicolas, Ashish Jha, M.D., and colleagues concludes that the spending disparity can be attributed largely to higher U.S. prices — particularly for doctors and pharmaceuticals — as well as higher administrative costs. The average salary for a general practitioner in the U.S. is $218,173, nearly double the average salary across other high-income countries. Meanwhile, the U.S. spends $1,443 on prescription drugs per person, compared to an average of $749 elsewhere. And as a percentage of national health expenditures, outlays for health care administration are two-and-a-half times greater than what they are in other countries.</p>
<p>To reduce spending, the authors say U.S. policymakers should focus on lowering prices and administrative costs, rather than simply reducing use of health care.</p>

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