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The United States spends almost twice as much on health care, as a percentage of its economy, as other advanced industrialized countries — totaling $3.3 trillion, or 17.9 percent of gross domestic product in 2016.

But a few decades ago American health care spending was much closer to that of peer nations.

What happened?

A large part of the answer can be found in the title of a 2003 paper in Health Affairs by the Princeton University health economist Uwe Reinhardt: “It’s the prices, stupid.”

Why the U.S. Spends So Much More Than Other Nations on Health Care

Studies point to a simple reason, the prices, not to the amount of care. And lowering prices would upset a lot of people in the health industry.


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