Affording health care has become a pressing national concern.
According to a 2016 Gallup survey, 27% of individuals in the United States identified affordability as the country’s “most urgent health problem.”
The level of concern is both severe and new.
Dr Ezekiel Emanuel and colleagues examine the challenges in measuring the affordability of US health care.
In the late 1990s, HIV/AIDS was the top health concern.
|More than 60% indicated that prescription drug prices should be a top health care priority|
|Journal of the American Medical Association|
In 2008, the leading health concern was accessing medical services.
The team reports that today, 57% of individuals report that they worry “a great deal” about “the availability and affordability of healthcare.”
More than 60% indicate that prescription drug prices should be a top health care priority.
The researchers observed that more than a quarter of individuals have postponed care owing to cost.
When discussing high health care costs, academics and policymakers cite multiple measures: total national health expenditures, health care inflation, health care spending as a percentage of the US economy, and health care “waste.”
Dr Emanuel's team concludes, "Many individuals in the United States, and even many health care professionals, have difficulty grasping these macroeconomic indicators; including reasons such as they only describe health care spending at the national level; these measures track expenditures, not affordability, and they do not describe the ability to pay for health care."