A 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. He 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.