Pricele$$: The Failure of U.S. Healthcare Spending

healthcare spending

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Why Can’t Money Buy a Long Life?

One of the few things our nation ranks first in is health care expenditure. Yet for all the money in the world it isn’t helping us live longer.

Per Capita healthcare spending [3]
(In International $’s)
Lowest spender. Eritrea: $17
Lowest 20%: $20.15
Second 20%: $207
Middle 20%: $526.89
Fourth 20%: $1241.28
Highest 20%: $3845.15
Highest spender US: $8233
The US spends nearly double the average of the highest 20% spenders
And 16x what the bottom 80% spends.

Yet the US is ranked 51st for life expectancy
99.99th percentile on healthcare spending =
79th percentile for life expectancy.

…Doesn’t look like we’re getting a bang for our buck:

Top 50 Countries by Life Expectancy

[#rank/country/life expectancy]
1.)Monaco, 89.63
2.)Macau, 84.46
3.)Japan, 84.19
4.)Singapore, 84.07
5.) San Marino, 83.12
6.) Andorra, 82.58
7.) Guernsey, 82.32
8.) Switzerland, 82.28
9.) Hong Kong, 82.2
10.) Australia, 81.98
11.) Italy, 81.95
12.) Liechtenstein, 81.59
13.) Canada, 81.57
14.) Jersey, 81.57
15.) France, 81.56
16.) Spain, 81.37
17.) Sweden, 81.28
18.) Israel, 81.17
19.) Iceland, 81.11
20.) Anguilla, 81.09
21.) Netherlands, 81.01
22.)Bermuda, 80.93
23.) Cayman ISlands, 80.91
24.) Isle of Man, 80.87
25.) New Zealand, 80.82
26.) Ireland, 80.44
27.) Norway, 80.44
28.) Germany, 80.32
29.) Jordan, 80.3
30.) United Kingdom, 80.29
31.)Greece, 80.18
32.) Saint Pierre and Miguelon, 80.13
33.) Austria, 80.04
34.) Malta, 79.98
35.) Faroe Islands, 79.98
36.) Luxembourg, 79.88
37.) European Union, 79.86
38.) Belgium, 79.78
39.) Taiwan, 79.71
40.) Virgin Islands, 79.61
41.) Finland, 79.55
42.) Korea, South, 79.55
43.) Turks and Caicos Islands, 79.40
44.) Wallis and Futuna, 79.27
45.) Puerto Rico, 79.07
46.) Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha, 79.06
47.) Gibralter, 78.98
48.) Denmark, 78.94
49.) Portugal, 78.85
50.) Guam, 78.66
51.) United States, 78.62

Getting some perspective:

48.) Denmark, 78.94, $4,467
49.) Portugal, 78.85, $2,729
50.) Guam, 78.66, Unknown
51.) United States, 78.62, $8233
52.) Bahrain, 78.43, $937
53.) Chile, 78.27, $1,191
54.) Qatar, 78.24, $1,621

Compared to Britain, the U.S. has:
30% higher prevalence of lung cancer
60% higher chance of heart disease and stroke
100% higher chance of diabetes.
Across socio-economic lines.

The U.S. fares worse in:
infant mortality
low birth weight
injuries
homicides
teen pregnancy
sexually transmitted disease
HIV and AIDS
drug-related deaths
obesity and diabetes
heart disease
chronic lung disease
disability.
Than all of the other 17 most industrialized countries.

So what are we paying for?
New drugs do cost A LOT to create –
With only 1/10 medicines that are tested in human clinical trials succeeding. [13]

AstraZeneca/ 5/ $58.955 billion/ $11.790 billion
GlaxoSmithKline/ 10/ $81.708 billion/ $8.170 billion
Sanofi/8/ $63.274 billion/ $7.909 billion
Roche Holding AG/ 11/ $85.841 billion/ $7.803 billion
Pfizer/ 14/ $108.178 billion/ $7.727 billion
Johnson & Johnson/ 15/ $88.285 billion/ $5.885 billion
Eli Lilly & Co./ 11/ $50.347 billion/ $4.577 billion
Abbott Laboratories/ 8/ $35.970 billion/ $4.496 billion
Merck and Co Inc/16/$67.360 billion/ $4.209 billion
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co./11/$45.675 billion/ $4.152 billion
Novartis/ 21/ $83.646 billion/ $3.983 billion
Amgen/9/$33.229 billion/ $3.692

And hospital expenses…
Total hospital stay costs.
The U.S. Outpaces the second highest nation 3 fold:
(Average hospital stay cost)
U.S. $15,734
Germany $5,004
Chile $4,948

We’re spending a lot of money, so what’s wrong?
We’re missing out on the easy things.

The “Blue Zones”
Where people can live up to a decade longer, naturally.
Icaria, Greece[6]
Sardinia, Italy
Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica
7th Day Adventists in Loma Linda, Calif.
and Okinawa, Japan

Keys to Living a Decade Longer:

Move naturally:
gardening, walking around the house, walking while on the phone. Not marathons or working out a ton.
Have Purpose:
Know why you’re waking up in the morning.
Relax:
Whether that’s praying, napping, reading, or happy hour.
Eat Less:
Stop eating when you’re 80% full.
Eat Less Meat:
Beans are the cornerstone of many people who live past 100′s diet.
Drink in moderation:
Many blue zone inhabitants knock one or two back a day.
Have Faith:
Doesn’t matter which one, but attending 4 services a month is common for blue zone inhabitants.
Put family first:
Commit to one partner, keep aging family nearby.
Be social:
Build a social network that builds good habits.

Extending your life and enhancing quality of life isn’t always about what you can buy. It starts with habits that are sustainable and well-formed.

healthcare spending

Citations:

  1. UC Atlas, Healthcare spending
  2. World Factbook Life expectancy by country
  3. Kaiser Foundation, Health Expenditure Per Capita
  4. NCBi Difference between life expectancy
  5. Global Research, US Life Expectancy
  6. USA Today ‘Blue Zones’ Author interview
  7. Becker Hospital Reviews, US Hospital stay costs outpace other countries, 3-fold.
  8. Forbes, the Truly Staggering Cost of Inventing New Drugs