How Much Does the US Spend on Health Care?

The United States spends about 17% of its gross domestic product (GDP) on health care, which amounted to about $2.7 trillion US Dollars (USD) in 2012. Almost 50% of all US health care expenditures are for an estimated 5% of the population. This subset of the population is thought to require so much spending not just because of illnesses, but also because of issues such as poverty, mental illness or unsafe lifestyles that inhibit or prevent effective treatment. Advocates for increased spending on social services believe that aiding these individuals through the assistance of caseworkers could be a solution for lowering total spending on health care.

More about health care:

  • The US accounted for 40% of global health care spending in 2012, followed by Japan at 8%.

  • The average cost of a hospital stay in developed countries worldwide is about $6,200 USD, which is about one-third of the average in the US.

  • Cancer survival rates in the US are among the highest in the world. For example, the breast cancer five-year survival rate averaged 89.3% from 2004-2009, while the average for other developed countries was 83.5%.
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Discussion Comments


I do not believe your last sentence for even one second!

I feel that the less fortunate Americans, or, anyone as far as that goes, who receive any type of public assistance should earn what they receive. For generations now, living off the public has become a way of life for far too many people. These people can become volunteers, or clean litter from our parks, beaches and streets, etc.

And no food vouchers. Period. Let the working relatives take them under their wings, as happened years ago, before so many Americans lost their sense of pride.

Please read on. Our home was licensed for teenage foster children many years ago. One child in particular was a shy, 13 year old girl. Two years later, she had gained self esteem and excelled in her studies. Her mother, who was in another state by then, showed an interest in her and this child left our care. Within months and without proper supervision, this girl got in with the wrong crowd, became pregnant and quit school. She came to us crying and pleading for our help, and we drove all day to where she lived, loaded her possessions in a U-Haul trailer, drove all night and moved her and her child back to our state. She enrolled in school for her GED. The DSS found an apartment for this 16 year old mother and child, paid her utilities, gave her medical care, etc., etc. She once again got in with a bad crowd, soon up and left, child in tow, for California, to become a "flower child". She was soon heavily into drugs, booze and sex.

After about a year, she came back to her hometown area, addicted to drugs, booze and all that encompasses the affliction. DSS again added her to the roll as there was a child involved. Soon she became pregnant again. We, the public, paid again for all her medical expenses with this pregnancy. Because of her addiction, twice a week, she was taken to drug rehab, where she was legally given drugs, paid for by the taxpayer.

And once again, an apartment was obtained that included all the trimmings: brand new appliances, stocked pantry, medicaid, cash, you get the picture.)

She had never worked a day in her life, but now her "family", was given everything - all from our tax dollars. She never tried to change, never got her GED, but did get all the assistance of the DSS and her now legal supervised drug "hits". Several men moved in and out with her over the course of time, freeloading.

Epilogue: The once shy 13 year old recently died from colon cancer, having endured much pain and Medicaid medical treatment.

The daughter, now grown, has a family of her own and is doing well, and knows how not to live. The son? Well, he's in prison.

Now think about it. How many other Americans have abused the system like this?

Over the years, this "family" received in "aid", from our tax dollars, over twice annually what my productive income totaled. And that’s before paying my taxes!

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