US Healthcare Spending—Rising Fast

Health, Policies

US Healthcare Spending—Rising Fast

U.S. healthcare expenditures greatly exceed spending levels in other developed countries. They are projected to increase at a substantial rate, but produce no better—and indeed sometimes worse—outcomes, according to research sponsored by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation.1  With national healthcare expenditure (NHE) estimated to reach $6.2 trillion by 2028, public policy experts, government officials, healthcare-sector leaders, business executives and ordinary citizens share mounting concern about the country’s ability to provide healthcare services that are fiscally responsible and attain acceptable levels of quality, effectiveness, and equity.2

Proposals to counter the increasing levels of U.S. healthcare expenditures abound. They include policies intended to achieve price transparency; alternatives to fee-for-service compensation, such as price controls based on Medicare fees or a percentage of negotiated in-network rates, as well as value-based and capitation systems; antitrust enforcement; simplification of administration;3 and wholesale restructuring of the sector’s present complex arrangements with a single-payer, governmental system for the entire population

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Some of America’s wealthiest hospital systems ended up even richer, thanks to federal bailouts

Health, Threats

Some of America’s wealthiest hospital systems ended up even richer, thanks to federal bailouts

As the crisis crushed smaller providers, some of the nation’s richest health systems thrived, reporting hundreds of millions of dollars in surpluses after accepting huge grants for pandemic relief.

Last May, Baylor Scott & White Health, the largest nonprofit hospital system in Texas, laid off 1,200 employees and furloughed others as it braced for the then-novel coronavirus to spread. The cancellation of lucrative elective procedures as the hospital pivoted to treat a new and less profitable infectious disease presaged financial distress, if not ruin. The federal government rushed $454 million in relief funds to help shore up its operations.

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