The United States currently spends more than $420 million per hour on healthcare, a number that is increasing by the minute and is expected to top $12 trillion in 2040, according to HealthCostCrisis.org, a new, interactive website and crisis clock that tracks and forecasts healthcare spending in America in real time. The site, developed by West Health, a family of nonprofit and nonpartisan organizations includes tools to gauge the impact of the escalating cost of healthcare on patients and their families, businesses, employees, critical government programs like Medicare and the U.S. economy.
Economic Impact of Healthcare Spending
The U.S. currently spends about twice as much as what other high-income nations do on healthcare — more than $3.6 trillion in 2018, according to the latest estimates from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Despite the higher spending, the U.S. consistently ranks near the bottom on major health indices such as life expectancy and infant mortality.
The Burden of Costly Healthcare for Families
Health spending per person is growing 2X faster than household income driving more than 57 million Americans to cut back household spending to pay for healthcare or medicine. 45% of American adults fear that a major health event in their household could lead to bankruptcy. Even with employer health coverage, a family earning $45,000 a year must budget at least 20% of their income for health expenses including premiums and out-of-pocket costs.
“Americans are simply paying too much and getting too little for all they are spending on healthcare,” said Tim Lash, chief strategy officer for West Health. “The good news is we don’t have to discover our way out of this crisis. Common-sense solutions can be enacted that would have an immediate and meaningful impact on the health and wealth of every American.”
West Health Initiatives to Support Value-based Care
West Health supports measures that require providers to stop fee-for-service practices and move to value-based care; empower Medicare to directly negotiate drug pricing, which it is currently prohibited from doing; and create true price transparency for patients, businesses and the government.
The development of HealthCostCrisis.org is part of West Health’s initiatives to urgently address out-of-control spending on healthcare and empower voters, businesses, organizations, community leaders and patient advocates to demand and secure affordable care from elected officials and policymakers.
“Skyrocketing healthcare costs are threatening the health and financial security of millions of Americans and the consequences are not only costly but deadly,” said Shelley Lyford, president and CEO of West Health. “Every hour we don’t do something to change the cost trajectory of healthcare means more people are going bankrupt and even dying as lifesaving medicines become further and further out of reach for all but the wealthiest of Americans. The clock is ticking and time is running out.”