Why Americans Pay More for Health Care

March 5, 2012

From c-sections to hip replacements to MRI’s, the United States pays more for medical procedures than any other country around the world.  The cost of health care is one of the fundamental problems most of us deal with everyday.  If you’re lucky enough to have insurance, your co-pays and deductibles are on a steep incline to the moon.  And if you don’t have insurance, well, prices are often just flat out of reach.

Here’s how the numbers break down when you compare U.S. costs to others around the world.  In 2009, Americans spent $7,960 per person on health care. Our neighbors in Canada spent $4,808. The Germans spent $4,218. The French, $3,978.

The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein broke it down to a very simple reason: The prices are higher.  Painfully simple, but woefully true.  The big question is why.  A lot of it has to do with a major lack of transparency about how much things cost.  Just try to find out how much a hospital charged your insurance company for a service they provided to you.  It’s like you are just the vehicle by which money was transferred.  Isn’t this supposed to be about your health? Not really.   It’s about the money.  Negotiated rates between the government and providers, and negotiated rates between insurance companies and providers rule the day.

So how did we get to this point?  Click here to read more from Klein in the Washington Post’s WonkBlog.