What do financing your retirement as well as finding affordable healthcare and the possibility of losing your job all have in common with each other? Easy, at least for an American, these days. Those are the top three worries that we wake up to in this country and that 60% of people believe are very much more than just nightmares gone wrong. They could become reality and it would seem that women are more concerned in particular. It’s healthcare that is on everyone’s lips and it’s been like that for years. Americans have become downright insecure since the economic crisis and despite any progress in employment figures or in the Gross Domestic Product of the country, it’s still a major worry that people perceive every day. How to pay for your healthcare in a country where it’s the most expensive in the world? Even if you’re on a middle-income figure and have insurance, you’re still likely to be sitting their wondering and perusing over how to deal with health bills if they have already arrived in your mailbox, or even worse worrying about the unknown and how you’re going to handle them if (or rather when) they get posted to you.
The country remains roughly divided amongst those that are pro-Affordable Care Act and those that think that President Obama got it all wrong by passing that law making an attempt to provide affordable healthcare in the country that spends more money than any other in the world in that sector of activity. There are more and more Republicans that are voicing their opinions to get that law ditched just as soon as Obama closes the little white door in the big Oval Office and does a runner somewhere off to the sun, probably. It’s not surprising that people are genuinely worried in the USA about how they can pay for their healthcare and that of their family.
The Proof is in the Figures
A survey that was carried out by the Institute for Communitarian Policy Study (George Washington University) shows that “the majority of Americans have a widespread sense of economic insecurity” today.
· 62% of women are worried in the USA about their healthcare expenses.
· 47% of men are also worried about how they are going to pay for the healthcare costs either for themselves or for their families.
· It’s obvious that healthcare is a major concern for Americans these days.
· Today, healthcare spending stands at 17.5% of GDP in the USA.
· Between 2014 and 2015, healthcare expenses grew at a far greater percentage rate than over the past twelve years according to official statistics.
· The average rate of growth in healthcare expenditure in the USA stood at roughly 3.7% per annum between 2008 and 2013.
· 2013 was even a historical year with growth in expenditure that stood at a measly (by comparison) figure of just 2.9%.
· But in 2014, that figure jumped to 5.3% per year.
· While the number of people with public health insurance increased from 12.9% in 2000 to just below 24% in 2013, there was a radical drop from 71.8% to 61% for private health insurance in the country.
· The recession can be largely blamed for those figures related to public and private health insurance, with the loss in employment leading to private health insurance being forfeited and enrolment for some into public health-insurance schemes.
· But, what’s the cause of the increase since 2014 in the average expense growth for healthcare in this country? It’s due to the Affordable Healthcare Act and new and highly expensive drugs that have been launched onto the market.
· Hospitals account for 32% of all expenditure in healthcare today in the USA.
· That figure increased by 0.6% from 2013 and 2014.
· Doctors make up 20% of expenditure in healthcare in the country.
· Doctors’ expenses increased by 2.1% from 2013 to 2014.
But, is the USA alone in the cost of its healthcare system in the world and what are the other places where you would have to fork out and dig deep until you got enough money to find treatment?
Isn’t it a sorry state of affairs that you have to think about how much you have in the bank before you can actually get treatment? Or is it the old Malthusian idea that we have to get rid of the poor because they will simply eat away at the resources of the rich? Just remember though that there is always someone that is richer than you are. That means you will always be the poor man to someone else, won’t you?
But, where would it cost you a bomb to get treatment these days? Here’s the list. Getting treated in any hospital by any doctor in any of these countries would certainly cost us less than in the USA. Have a think about it.
What’s included in the healthcare costs? Anything from medical procedures to pharmaceutical products and prescriptions as well as administration and staff.
Top-Ten Most Expensive Countries for Healthcare in the World
Health expenditure in this country per capita stands at $8,713. Life expectancy stands at 78.8 years (the only top-ten country that doesn’t even reach 80 years for life expectancy) and the obesity rate is 35.3%. The USA has more money than most countries in this world and it spends more money than any other on healthcare. Yet, there are still people that don’t have cover and there is no greater return on investment here than anywhere else. In fact, it’s worse. The USA has roughly 2.5 doctors per 1,000 residents, which is one of the lowest and worst in the top-ten list. Not only does it cost us more to see the doctor, but we have to wait more to get one who’s available.
Switzerland has a per capita expenditure of $6,325 and that amounts to 11.1% of GDP for this country. The obesity rate is just 10.3% and life expectancy stands at 82.9 years. 81% of the Swiss believe that they are in better health with their universal healthcare. At least, the results are better. The Swiss live longer. The country even has more nurses than any other country in the world (17 per 1,000 people of the population) and they have 4 doctors per 1,000 residents.
Norway has health expenditure (per capita) that stands at $5,862 and that represents 8.9% of its GDP. Life expectancy stands at 81.8 years ad obesity is 10% of the total population. As with many countries in the western world, universal healthcare is the order of the day here. There is also the same number of nurses (17) and doctors (4) per 1,000 residents as for Switzerland in this country.
Healthcare expenditure here stands at $5,131 per capita and that’s 11.1% of GDP. Life expectancy stands at 81.4 years and obesity is just over 11%. Only 1% of residents have no health insurance in this country. Across the board in all OECD countries, people over the age of 65 believe that they are in good health at a rate of 43.4%. But, in the Netherlands, that figure is much higher at 60%.
Health expenditure here stands at $4,904 per person in the country (11% of GDP). Life expectancy is at 82 years of age and obesity stands at 11.7% of the population. Swedes also go to the doctor’s far less than any other country in the world (2.9 times per year) and this is because they state that they are in excellent health at a rate of 81% for all residents.
Health expenditure here stands at $4,819 per capita and works out to 11% of GDP (and that’s with 25% of its population being over 65). Almost the entire country has medical healthcare cover either through public or private means (by comparison in the USA only 89% of the country is covered).
Life expectancy here stands at 80.4 years and they spend $4,553 per person in the country (10.4% of GDP). Its growing ageing population will likely see that percentage of healthcare expenditure increase in the coming years (those over the age of 65 will amount to nearly one quarter of the population in the next thirty years).
Almost the entire country has health insurance here with $4,553 being spent per person (10.1% of GDP). There is a life expectancy of 81.2 years here.
Life expectancy here stands at 81.9%, but obesity is at 22.7%. Per-capita expenditure on healthcare stands at $4,371 ($762 coming from the private sector, per resident).
Canada has a life-expectancy rate of 81.5 years of age. It spends $4,351 per capita on healthcare and that works out to 10.2% of GDP. The average percentage for expenditure as a percentage of GDP in the OECD stands at 8.9%.
The more you spend should be synonymous with greater returns on investment for people in the USA. That means that Americans should be the fittest people on this planet. They’re definitely not! What happened and where did it all go wrong?
People are living longer and that necessarily means that we need to think about healthcare of the future. What direction do we want to take and can we continue living in the country with the most expensive healthcare system in the world? Are we still prepared to work all of our lives and not have enough money to get regular check-ups or pay for operations? Focusing on fear will just keep us in the past rather than progressing towards something better and new. The Dutch writer Corrie ten Boom once said “Worrying is carrying tomorrow's load with today's strength- carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn't empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” There’s no point carrying yesterday’s worries around with us today, but that can only happen as long as the cost of healthcare comes down in this country. After all, who’s it making rich? Certainly not the people who work in that sector and certainly not the people who use it to be looked after and treated.
Yet, there are plenty of innovative ways of reducing health costs and thus enabling us to get rid of that worry and fear of healthcare available to us.
What would you do to make healthcare better?
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