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Expert: U.S. healthcare the most expensive

Feb. 3, 2013 at 8:18 PM   |   Comments

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., Feb. 3 (UPI) -- A U.S. health economist says Americans think their healthcare system is the most advanced in the world, but it is merely the most expensive.

Michael Lawlor, a professor of economics and health policy Wake Forest University said the cost of U.S. healthcare services is extremely high and average American consumers, even if covered, do not get a greater quantity of healthcare services or even more convenience for the high cost they pay compared to the average developed country. They simply pay more for each unit of that quantity, Lawlor said.

"Average life expectancy is one way to measure outcomes," Lawlor said in a statement. "The most recent data found life expectancy in Germany was 80.5 years, Japan 83 years and the U.S. was 78.7 years."

Medical inflation tends to slow in recessions and this has occurred in this case too, Lawlor said.

"But healthcare prices, in recent years, have still managed to rise faster than the average prices of other items," Lawlor said. "An ever increasing portion of the average households' budget is devoted to medical care."

How does the increase compare with the rate of increase experienced in other developed nations?

"U.S. healthcare expenditures have long been the highest and most rapidly advancing of any nation," Lawlor said. "The Affordable Health Care Act includes some minor provisions to control escalating medical costs, though the legislation is mostly designed to widen health care access not control costs."

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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