U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney recently traveled to Britain, Israel, and Poland, presumably to shore up his foreign policy credentials. Among a number of other statements that got a lot of attention, Romney praised Israel’s health care system, comparing it positively to the U.S. He stressed the cost differences, pointing out that Israel spends significantly less of its GDP on health care. This drew media attention because Israel has universal coverage provided by the state, and the glowing statements seemed a little odd in light of the Republicans’ opposition to the Affordable Care Act and the demonizing of the program as socialism.
But all that aside, how much do Americans spend on health care? Well…a lot. Elizabeth McM. sent us a link to a story at The Atlantic comparing U.S. medical spending to a number of other nations:
What are we spending it on? Hospital care is the single largest expense, followed by the cost of doctor/clinic visits. Another 10% is prescription drugs. The remainder falls into a variety of categories:
With overall spending distributed among so many different sectors of the health care sector, reducing costs requires more than just increased efficiency by hospitals or lowered drug costs — it requires changes and savings throughout the system.