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Public Prices In Health Care

Decent Essays
High prices are hurting American families. Americans pay exorbitant prices for all kinds of care. High prices are why medical debt remains a leading cause of bankruptcy in the United States, and nowhere else. The US healthcare delivery system differs from those of other developed countries in three notable ways: It relies on multiple sources of private financing, it covers less of the population, and it costs much more. Shaped by the institutions, ideas, and interests that drive American policymaking, the US health care delivery system is uniquely complex, costly, and unequal. Initially private, it has become an increasingly complex public/private mix, as incremental reforms adopted over many decades have sought to correct market failures…show more content…
The median household income in the United States in 2014 was $53,697 so the average household with a median income would have spent almost 46 percent of its income on health care” were costs and income evenly distributed across the population. However, health care costs are not evenly distributed. In any given year, 1 percent of the population is responsible for over 21 percent of health care costs, 5 percent for half. On the other hand, half of the population spends almost nothing on health care in any given year. Because of this disparity in the distribution of health care costs, the United States, like every other developed nation, depends on health insurance.
Health insurance puts health care consumers into a common pool and moves money from those who are healthy at any given time to those who are not. It allows high-cost users to gain access to health care that they could never otherwise afford. Indeed, few Americans would be able to afford really expensive, intensive hospital care or some specialty pharmaceuticals if they had to pay out-of-pocket. A cash and carry health care system is also not possible because of another great disparity in the United States -- the disparate distribution of income and wealth. Almost half of our nation’s income goes to the top 10 percent of the population. Distribution of wealth is even more inequitable: the wealthiest 3 percent of the population own over half of the nation’s assets, while the
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