advertisement



Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
Spending Too Much on Health Care?
I just read that health care spending in the United States could double by 2017, which seems ludicrous to me since so many of us are so dissatisfied with available medical care. What are your thoughts on this?
A
Answer (Published 3/28/2008)

No doubt what you read is a projection from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that health spending in the U.S. will grow at a rate of 6.7 per year from 2007 to 2017. At the same time, economic growth is expected to slow to an average annual rate of 4.7 percent. The combination of these two factors is projected to push health care spending to $4.3 trillion by 2017, an amount that will equal nearly 20 percent of our gross domestic product. Fueling the growth in health spending is the fact that beginning in 2011 the first wave of the baby boom generation will be enrolling in Medicare.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor for Your Whole Body - Foods, herbs and drugs can all interact, sometimes in unexpected ways. Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor takes known interactions into account when developing nutritional supplement recommendations, to help safeguard against adverse effects. Learn more, and get your free, personalized Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor recommendation today.

Shocking as the numbers may be, the trend itself is not new. According to government economists over the past 30 years, health spending has topped growth in the gross domestic product by about 2.7 percentage points per year. And, in fact, the difference is projected to narrow slightly during the coming decade. Nevertheless, this trend can't be sustained indefinitely. Unless something changes soon, we won't be able to afford Medicare as it now is for too much longer.

The issue of what we're getting for all that money is equally disturbing. A 2001 study revealed that Americans paid about $6,000 per capita for health care - twice the average of 22 other developed countries - but we had almost the lowest healthy life expectancy. Only the Czech Republic ranked lower.

So the best way to address the skyrocketing costs would be less emphasis on high tech medicine and more on less expensive, low tech alternatives that can work better for many of the common complaints patients bring to doctors. Training more physicians in integrative medicine, which combines conventional and alternative treatments and emphasizes prevention and natural, non-invasive therapies wherever possible could help cut costs. Many common diseases could be avoided if we were better able to address the lifestyle factors that underlie them. I think that's the road we have to travel. Otherwise, I'm afraid we'll face painful choices about how to allocate our health care dollars.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle, LLC on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here