Healthcare Reform: The Public Option
There is a major battle going on between Americans who are in favor of a government-run health care option and those who oppose any government-run health care option. A government-run health care plan has to be included in order to have any real health care reform. In order to explain how our health care system has gotten out of control, we first have to look at historical health care expenditures. The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) defines the National Health Expenditure (NHE) as the annual U.S. expenditures for health care goods and services, public health activities, program administration, the net cost of private insurance, and research and other investment related to health care. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has kept historical records on how much money has been spent on health care in relationship to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) since 1960. In 1960, the National Health Expenditure was 5.2 percent of the GDP. In 2007 the National Health Expenditure was 16.2 percent of the GDP. The National Health Expenditure costs in real numbers spent were $27.5 billion in 1960. It rose to approximately $2.24 trillion in 2007. According to a table on the US Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Web site: Health spending as a share of GDP is expected to grow from its 2008 level of 16.3 percent to an estimated 19.5 percent of GDP in 2017 (about $4.3 trillion). Overall, GDP is also projected to grow over this period (on average, 4.7 percent per year), but health care costs will grow faster than GDP. In fact, through 2018, health care spending growth is expected to outpace GDP growth by an average of 1.9 percentage points annually. By 2017, about 20 cents of every dollar spent in the U.S. economy will be spent on health care (Historical). At this rate, one can see that the cost of health care is increasing at a higher rate per year than the...
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