The US spends more on health care than any other nation without evidence that we get better outcomes or value for our money. Rising health care costs are putting immense pressure on families, straining businesses, and making it more challenging for the US to compete globally. As Warren Buffett said, “Medical costs are the tapeworm of American economic competitiveness.” From 2000 to 2019, health care spending in the US increased by 87 percent, while median household income increased by only 10 percent. Today, average annual health insurance premiums for a family of four are $21,342. That’s the equivalent of a family buying a new Toyota Corolla worth of insurance each year.
Unfortunately, the challenge is that there is not a consensus on how to address our high costs of health care. In part, that reflects the fact that reforming a $3.8 trillion health system won’t involve a single change. There simply are not silver bullet reforms that will transform the US health system. Differentially high health care spending in the US is the result of a myriad of small problems that all add up. Our focus is working with leading scholars to identify these discrete problems and offering evidence-based steps to address them.