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Why is healthcare in the US so expensive? Show more Show less
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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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Monopolies in medicine increase the price of prescription drugs

Prescription drugs in America tend to cost more even if they are the same quality as what is available in other countries. Many monopolies in the pharmaceutical industry make sure that only a few companies can provide the necessary medication. They can also set prices as high as they like which increases the overall cost of healthcare.

The Argument

Prescription drugs in America cost more than they do in other parts of the world. For example, Humira==which treats many autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis==costs three times more in America than it does in Switzerland.[1] Such levels of high pricing are present for just about every drug and it increases the amount of money patients spend on healthcare. These prices are the result of large monopolies in the healthcare industry. Only a number of well-established pharmaceutical companies hold the patents for manufacturing certain drugs.[2] FDA marketing exclusivity is also only given to these select few companies. Since there is limited competition, the sky is the limit for these companies when it comes to pricing. Most of the companies know that there are patients who need them and they are the only ones producing the medication. They can set the prices as high as possible. Companies tend to only decrease these prices when their profits start dropping. While most businesses can handsomely profit from this, many patients are left in the dark with no choice but to pay these high fees.

Counter arguments

Prescription drug spending in the US only accounts for about 10% of healthcare expenditures. Many other factors such as administrative costs or overutilization of diagnostic tests are what truly drive up the cost of healthcare. Also, in many cases, the patients do not pay the full price for these drugs. Large insurance companies with plenty of resources are generally the ones footing the bills. There are many other major factors besides drug pricing that impact healthcare costs.

Proponents

Premises

[P1] Because patients need their drugs, pharmaceutical companies that have monopolies in the market can charge whatever they please without losing customers. [P2] The high prices of prescription drugs lead to healthcare being expensive in America.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Most of the time, insurance companies foot the majority of the bill so patients don't have to. [Rejecting P2] Pharmaceuticals are not the only or the main cause for high healthcare costs.

References

  1. https://www.realclearpolicy.com/articles/2019/04/04/five_facts_why_us_health_care_is_so_expensive__111148.html/source.html
  2. https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2019/03/drug-prices-high-cost-research-and-development/585253/#:~:text=The%20simple%20explanation%20for%20excessive,a%20recipe%20for%20excessive%20prices./source.html
This page was last edited on Thursday, 27 Aug 2020 at 23:50 UTC

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