By: Nikki Nies
The U.S. is known for putting a lot of its money towards healthcare. While it would make sense to that a majority of that money is being put to care for the baby boomer generation, in actuality chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes are the main source of health care costs. There’s a misperception that the old and sick should be held accountable for rising health care costs, however, in 2011 84% of costs for entire population were due to chronic diseases.
With 18% of U.S. GDP, or $2.7 trillion spent yearly on healthcare, it hasn’t been enough. The government has poured a lot of money into caring for its people and by 2021, costs are expected to rise to $4.8 trillion.
Chronic illness is where the misery is, it is where the money is and it is where the greatest opportunity lies.
Physicians, specialists and dentists are paid almost 2.5 times more and hospital costs are 60% higher in the U.S. than in other Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) nations. The treatment of chronic diseases are estimated to contribute an additional $4.2 trillion in treatment costs by 2024 as well. Obesity related diseases also account for 12% of health care spending in recent years.
It’s hard not to compare the U.S.’ current economic and life expectancy status to other nations. Comparison is the best way to measure the status of America’s health care system. If you look at the graph below, you’ll see the U.S. spends the most money on healthcare, yet, Japan’s life expectancy at 83 surpasses our life expectancy at a fraction of health care costs.
Don’t worry, there’s hope. Chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes can be prevented and in many cases, can be reversed. By living a more proactive, healthy lifestyle the burden of extra healthcare costs doesn’t have to apply to you.