Our healthcare costs keep increasing much faster than inflation, year after year. According to figures released in December 2019 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the annual growth rate of healthcare spending was 4.6% in 2018, vs. 3.9% in 2017, 4.8% for 2016 and 5.8% for 2015. We spent $3.6 trillion in this area, or 17.8% of GDP.
Americans spent about $11,000 per capita on healthcare in 2018, more than twice as much as of our direct economic competitors: This per capita healthcare spending was $4,700 in Japan; $5,700 in Germany; $4,900 in France; $4,200 in the U.K.; $4,800 in Canada; and an average of $5,300 for a dozen such wealthy countries, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation and OECD data.
Spending almost a fifth of our GDP on healthcare, compared to 9-11% for other large developed economies (and much less in China), is like having a chain tied to our ankles when it comes to our economic competitiveness.
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