More state spending on health care may be eroding Americans’ health

Abstract: The rising cost of health care has become one of the largest sources of stress on American household budgets in the 21st century. More than one-quarter of Americans report problems paying medical bills in the past year, and many are sacrificing spending on basic necessities like food and clothing to pay medical bills. It’s no wonder that nearly 70% of Americans want lawmakers to make reducing health care costs a top priority. But there’s a hidden piece of the cost conundrum. Not only are health care costs robbing families, they’re also robbing states of the ability to invest in the suite of vital community conditions which together have a powerful effect on health. Just as American household budgets are being squeezed, rising health care costs are forcing states to tighten their belts and spend less on conditions that should be necessities, such as stable incomes, good education, clean air and water, stable and affordable housing, and safe neighborhoods — all of which contribute to health.