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September 26, 2012 9:35 AM What’s the Problem with American Health Care? Everything

By Aaron Carroll

The Bipartisan Policy Center has released a report on factors that drive the high level of health care spending in the United States. Here are some:

  • Fee-for-service reimbursement;
  • Fragmentation in care delivery;
  • Administrative burden on providers, payers and patients;
  • Population aging, rising rates of chronic disease and co-morbidities, as well as lifestyle factors and personal health choices;
  • Advances in medical technology;
  • Tax treatment of health insurance;
  • Insurance benefit design;
  • Lack of transparency about cost and quality, compounded by limited data, to inform consumer choice;
  • Cultural biases that influence care utilization;
  • Changing trends in health care market consolidation and competition for providers and insurers;
  • High unit prices of medical services;
  • The health care legal and regulatory environment, including current medical malpractice and fraud and abuse laws; and
  • Structure and supply of the health professional workforce, including scope of practice restrictions, trends in clinical specialization, and patient access to providers.

In other words… everything. The system is broken, huh?

[Cross-posted at The Incidental Economist]

Aaron Carroll ,MD, is an associate professor of Pediatrics and the associate director of Children’s Health Services Research at Indiana University School of Medicine.