April 30, 2019

The value of health spending

By Austin Frakt

The U.S. is the biggest spender on health care in the world, yet national health outcomes do not reflect this massive investment. This fact forces us to question the value of health care spending: are our health care dollars worth it?

We can start by looking at longevity. Studies have found that spending on health care in the latter half of the 20th century dramatically reduced deaths from cardiovascular disease and infant mortality. About 40 – 50% of increases in longevity over this period can reasonably be attributed to the health system.

But, it’s not clear that we get the same bang for our buck today. More in my May 20th Upshot post.