Payers and Self-Insured Corporations Will Need to Drive Down U.S. Healthcare Prices

Bob Herman of Axios reported from the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference this year in San Francisco that it would appear that prominent financiers present were given no sense if healthcare executives were planning on lowering prices. The U.S. spends approximately $3.5 trillion on healthcare—representing 18% of GDP. On average, Americans don’t go to the doctor any more than other wealthy nations. Moreover, Herman notes there are also fewer doctors and nurses as well as hospital beds per capital in the U.S..  Americans spend more for health services, drugs, devices and diagnostic tests than other wealthy nations because health insurers don’t negotiate good enough prices.

In the 2003 article, “It’s the Prices Stupid: Why the United States is so Different from Other Counties,” the authors articulated the causes of the U.S. healthcare price hikes. These same authors recently updated this article only to come to the conclusion that the culprit remains unchanged. The book’s authors note that private insurers and self-insured corporations will have to step up their game to drive transformative pressures on the system. Healthcare in the U.S, some may argue, is more about profits than the health of people and general society. As one author said, “this is about money and getting a return.”