The US holds the unfortunate distinction of spending more per capita on health care than any other developed country. The disproportionate amount we spend on health care has a direct impact on patients and their families, who have to carry the burden of paying for health care more than ever. It’s not uncommon for patients go bankrupt trying to pay medical bills, crowdsource their medical costs, or avoid care because of the cost.
Staggering health care costs are also hurting Americans indirectly, by lowering real wages, limiting job growth, and crowding out spending on public services that could truly improve population health.
The Lown Institute addresses the micro and macro effects of high health care costs by facilitating research on this problem and providing regular blogs and headlines on the topic.
The high cost of health care is a significant burden for patients, but it’s not bad for everyone. Health care industries such as pharmaceutical companies, medical device companies, hospital chains, and others often profit from high prices and overtreatment.
In January 2018, we debuted the inaugural Shkreli Awards, named for pharma “bro” Martin Shkreli, to highlight the most egregious examples of profit-mongering and lack of empathy in health care in the past year.