Policy 102 – What’s Wrong With the Way Things Are?

Medicare For All Basics

What’s Wrong With the Way Things Are?

The Short Answer

We have the most expensive healthcare system in the world, but we have worse health outcomes, leave tens of millions uninsured, and drag down our economy. 

The Details

We have the most expensive healthcare system in the world. By a lot.

  • We spend over $10,300 per person annually on health care expenses
    • That’s twice the average of other wealthy countries
  • We spend over 18% of our GDP on health care
  • Our public spending is close to the average of other wealthy countries, but…
    • Our private spending is 3X as high
  • We spend twice as much for prescription drugs as other wealthy countries

We have worse health outcomes.

  • We have a lower life expectancy
  • We have a higher infant mortality rate
  • We have a higher rate of hospitalizations from preventable diseases

We’re leaving millions of people uninsured.

  • Nearly 40 million people in the US don’t have health insurance
  • An additional 41 million more people are underinsured

We’re dragging down our economy. 

  • The overhead cost of employer-based insurance is burying small and mid-sized businesses
    • It’s both expensive and unpredictable, prone to increasing drastically year to year, and makes it difficult to plan for growth long-term
    • It costs an average of $17,545 per year for a single employee’s family plan
      • On average, the employer covers about $12,591 of that
  • Employer sponsored insurance keeps take-home wages flat
    • 61% of small business owners say the cost of health insurance limits their ability to award bonuses or offer raises
    • As health insurance becomes more expensive, more of the burden of cost is shifted onto employees, so their take-home pay is actually decreasing
  • While insurance and pharmaceutical companies are recording record profits, they’re eating the rest of the American economy alive
    • Money that employers have to pump into health insurance premiums can’t go into:
      • Creating jobs
      • Investing in new technologies
      • Keeping prices internationally competitive
    • In our 70% consumer driven economy, less money in workers pockets means that there is less to spend on consumer goods and services, entertainment, or even basic needs like food, rent, and clothing
    • Companies that may be interested in expanding into the US are weary of becoming responsible for their employees’ health care costs


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