Health Care Spending Has High Opportunity Costs For US

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Health Care Spending

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U.S. health care spending accounted for 16% of gross domestic productin 2005 and 2006 and will account for an estimated 19.6% of GDP in2016, a Washington Times editorial states. By "definition, soaring health care expenditures are accompanied by very high opportunity costs," the Timesadds. According to the editorial, although "aging and wealthiersocieties around the world understandably choose to spend a greatershare of their resources on health than younger, poorer nations," theU.S. "spends a much higher share of its economy on health thancomparable industrialized nations."

A report released in February bythe Organization for Economic Cooperation and Developmentfound that in 2004 U.S. health spending accounted for 15.3% of GDP,compared with an average of 9.3% for six other industrialized nations,the editorial states. The editorial concludes that "it remains an uttermystery why the health care crisis is not higher on the nationalagenda" (Washington Times, 8/18).
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Reprinted with permission fromkaisernetwork.org.You can view the entire KaiserDaily Health Policy Report, search the archives, andsign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published forkaisernetwork.org,a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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