Research

Health care USA: A cancer on the American Dream

A report released by the Council for Affordable Health Coverage and Willis Towers Watson

August 31, 2018
| United States

By Sylvester J. Schieber and Steven A. Nyce

At a glance

  • Health care cost increases are encroaching on compensation growth and reducing parity in the distribution of disposable wages.
  • Major factors behind health care cost growth include the increasing consolidation of health care services, the regulatory approval process and patent protections for drugs and the delivery of health services.
  • Other countries have found a variety of ways to control their health care costs and still achieve better health outcomes than the U.S.: socializing both financing and delivery under bureaucratic budgeting and control; or creating single or a small number of financing systems, with limits on their health budgets, like the model adopted by Canada.

This report, issued in collaboration with the Council for Affordable Health Coverage, shows that the escalation of premiums is edging out pay growth for many workers, leaving nothing to add to their paychecks—what should be their ticket for the ride to the American Dream. The analysis also addresses the dynamics driving health cost increases, including the growing consolidation of health care services, the regulatory approval process and patent protections for drugs, and inefficient or even harmful practice patterns in the delivery of health services.

A number of economic forces have created barriers to the American Dream in recent years, but one culprit that generally has been overlooked is our singularly expensive health-care system. If we continue ignoring the reasons for our out-of-control health care spending, the deleterious effects on workers will exact an ever-higher claim on the American Dream of economic progress for all those willing to work for it.

View the in-depth report and executive summary by clicking the links in the download section at the bottom of the page.

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