America’s Healthcare Spending

The United States spent on healthcare a whopping $3.2 trillion in 2015. According to a study published in detail in American Medical Association Journal, the expenditure can be broken down to a total spend comprising of 155 diseases, categories and patient age. Categories include hospitalizations or pharmaceuticals. The study found that personal health spends is dominated by chronic and preventable diseases. Diabetes is the most expensive of all, taking away $101 billion. Heart disease and pain in neck and back comes up joint second with $88 billion each.

Money not spent wisely

The data reveals that healthcare spending varies across a number of primary drivers. To give an example, about 50 percent of those afflicted with diabetes are spending on drugs. In contrast, only about four percent of people suffering from neck and low back pain spend on medicines. Such insights help to formulate strategies to restrict it. According to Ken Thorpe, an Emory University professor, such data attracts attention to the fact that spending on healthcare does not actually solves the actual issue of disease prevalence. The increase in spending on chronic diseases is quite preventable.

Spending variance

There is no uniform yearly spends. Neck and low back pain grew at six percent every year. This is quicker than the median spend. Spending on heart disease at the same time went up by 0.2 percent every year. With increasing age, a person’s medical spend also goes up. Newborns are the sole exception to this rule. In 2013, people over 65 years spent 38 percent of the total personal health spending. About $2,000 was spent on every girl aged from one to four years old in the same year. There was an average spend of $16,000 on women aged between 70 and 74 years. It is now being anticipated that healthcare spending will comprise a fifth of the US economy within the next 10 years.

Ezekiel Emanuel, an adviser to President Barack Obama specializing in healthcare, said that HIV was the biggest public health spending of all. However, only about 7,000 US citizens died due to HIV or AIDS in 2014. The disease gets a ranking of 75 on list of diseases on the light of personal health expenditures. He said that spending is less on the lifestyle conditions which ultimately contribute to most chronic illnesses in modern times. He gave the example of spending on neck and low back pain. Both were low ranked on the public health expenditures list.

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