Last year, the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that while the U.S. spends more on healthcare than other nations, we consistently experience poorer outcomes.
But it's not just a question of what we spend, it's how we spend it. Outcomes are not determined solely by healthcare consumption. Poverty, for instance, is linked to higher rates of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, asthma and other chronic conditions. And when spending to address social issues such as poverty and education are combined with healthcare spending, a different picture emerges, with U.S. spending ranking among the bottom third of all industrialized nations.
Changing the health picture in the U.S. means moving beyond medicine to fixing our systems through environmental, economic and emotional care. We don't incentivize this work, preferring to treat the illness rather than to prevent the cause. But there is momentum to change.