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< Back to question Why is healthcare in the US so expensive? Show more Show less

Healthcare in America seems to be a lot more expensive than the rest of the world. From research and development for pharmaceutical drugs, to diagnostic tests, to doctors' salaries, everything in America has a higher price tag. In fact, in 2016, 17.8% of the country's GDP was spent on healthcare. Meanwhile, countries such as France, Sweden, Canada, Australia, and many others only spent around 11.5% of their GDP on healthcare-related reasons. Is the higher price of healthcare in America justifiable? What factors are driving the costs of healthcare and making it so expensive?

The rising costs of drugs, facilities, medication, and premiums result in excessive fees Show more Show less

The everyday medical protocol in hospitals has established that a large number of tests be performed. Also, prescription drugs and premiums cost more due to monopolies or price manipulation. Hospitals explain that these prices help them provide exceptional care while patients argue that they are unnecessary and expensive.
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The aging population is causing a huge surge in the price of premiums

Insurance companies keep increasing premiums; the amount paid towards them every month for health coverage. The aging population combined with an increase in diseases seems to account for this trend. Many people who are paying almost $20,000 per year would point to the rising premium costs as a top reason for why healthcare is so expensive.
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Proponents


The Argument

Healthcare premiums--the average amount paid per month for insurance coverage--tends to be at the forefront of healthcare expenses. This amount has been continually increasing every year. In 2018 alone, the cost of these premiums rose about 5% to roughly $19,616 for a family of four.[1] A simple explanation for the rising cost is that an increasing percentage of the population is elderly. Also, more people are diagnosed, every year, with chronic diseases. In order for insurance companies to cover their fees, they tend to increase the insurance charges for everyone. While an aging population or increase in diseases is unavoidable, most workplaces are doing something that is entirely avoidable. They are covering a smaller amount of their employees' insurances, forcing their employees to pay more for healthcare. In the last decade, while salaries have only grown by 26%, the average cost of premiums has increased by about 55%.[2] This places a tremendous burden on all people and makes healthcare seem overly expensive.

Counter arguments

The increase in premiums is not making American healthcare overly expensive. First of all, although some companies have decreased healthcare coverage, most have actually increased it. Healthcare is not going to be more expensive for the average person due to employer coverage. For example, Delta Air Lines Inc. froze all employee contributions to healthcare for two years.[3] Moreover, premiums and insurance coverage have always been an insignificant part of the equation when it comes to healthcare coverage. Places like Europe, the Netherlands, and Sweden have more or just as many elderly people as America does. It is reasonable to assume that insurance premiums charges are not excessively lower than they are in America. However, their healthcare costs are relatively low which shows that the problem with expensive healthcare in America does not really have anything to do with the premiums. Rather it is caused by other preventable factors.

Premises

[P1] Health insurance costs are increasing rapidly which causes people to pay more for healthcare when buying insurance. It also causes some people to not buy insurance at all, leading to even higher costs when they do end up going to the hospital. [P2] High insurance prices are a critical aspect of expensive healthcare in America.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Some companies are increasing their coverage to save their employees money, which reduces the amount spent on healthcare overall. [Rejecting P2] Healthcare premiums are not the cause of increasing healthcare costs.

References

  1. https://www.kff.org/health-costs/press-release/employer-sponsored-family-coverage-premiums-rise-5-percent-in-2018/source.html
  2. https://www.realclearpolicy.com/articles/2019/04/04/five_facts_why_us_health_care_is_so_expensive__111148.html/source.html
  3. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-09-25/why-is-health-insurance-so-expensive-20-000-a-year-for-coverage/source.html

This page was last edited on Saturday, 29 Aug 2020 at 02:52 UTC

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