via RAND Corporation
One of the many curious aspects of the recent presidential election was the virtual absence of discussion about America’s health. To be sure, the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, was front and center, but the Obamacare debate has largely been about the costs of care and insurance coverage.
Neither candidate devoted much airtime to the return America is getting for spending over 17 percent of its gross domestic product on health care. The short answer is not nearly enough.
More than a decade ago, some of my RAND colleagues published a seminal study indicating that adult Americans, on average, receive roughly half of recommended care (e.g., an important lab test or the right medication for a diagnosed condition). This finding held across various types of care—preventive, acute, chronic—and across an equally varied set of conditions, as well as for a range of geographic areas and for different demographic subpopulations, like children and the elderly. Unfortunately, there is no reason to believe that things have improved since the study was published.