U.S. Spending More Than $420 Million Per Hour On Healthcare, On Track To Spend In Excess Of $12 Trillion By 2040


WASHINGTON, DC – April 2, 2019 – The United States currently spends upwards of $420 million per hour on healthcare, a number that is increasing by the minute, and if current trends continue, the nation’s total healthcare spending will top $12 trillion by the year 2040, according to HealthCostCrisis.org, a new interactive website and crisis clock that tracks and forecasts healthcare spending in America in real time.

The site, developed by West Health, a family of nonprofit and nonpartisan organizations dedicated to lowering the cost of healthcare and enabling seniors to age successfully, also includes tools to gauge the impact of the escalating cost of healthcare on patients and their families, businesses, employees, critical government programs like Medicare and the U.S. economy.

HealthCostCrisis.org was launched today at West Health’s 2019 Healthcare Costs Innovation Summit in Washington, D.C., where healthcare and business leaders, patient advocates and policymakers gathered to advance common-sense solutions to address America’s healthcare cost crisis.

The United States currently spends upwards of $420 million per hour on healthcare, a number that is increasing by the minute, and if current trends continue, the nation’s total healthcare spending will top $12 trillion by the year 2040, according to HealthCostCrisis.org, a new interactive website and crisis clock from nonpartisan, nonprofit organization West Health that tracks and forecasts healthcare spending in America in real time.

 

“Skyrocketing healthcare costs are threatening the health and financial security of millions of Americans and the consequences are not only costly but deadly,” said Shelley Lyford, president and CEO of West Health. “Every hour we don’t do something to change the cost trajectory of healthcare means more people are going bankrupt and even dying as lifesaving medicines become further and further out of reach for all but the wealthiest of Americans. The clock is ticking and time is running out.”

The development of HealthCostCrisis.org is part of West Health’s initiatives to urgently address out-of-control spending on healthcare and empower voters, businesses, organizations, community leaders and patient advocates to demand and secure affordable care from elected officials and policymakers.

The U.S. currently spends about twice as much as what other high-income nations do on healthcare — more than $3.6 trillion in 2018, according to the latest estimates from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Despite the higher spending, the U.S. consistently ranks near the bottom on major health indices such as life expectancy and infant mortality.

“Americans are simply paying too much and getting too little for all they are spending on healthcare,” said Tim Lash, chief strategy officer for West Health. “The good news is we don’t have to discover our way out of this crisis. Common-sense solutions can be enacted that would have an immediate and meaningful impact on the health and wealth of every American.”

West Health supports measures that require providers to stop fee-for-service practices and move to value-based care; empower Medicare to directly negotiate drug pricing, which it is currently prohibited from doing; and create true price transparency for patients, businesses and the government.

About West Health

Solely funded by philanthropists Gary and Mary West, West Health is a family of nonprofit and nonpartisan organizations including the Gary and Mary West Foundation and Gary and Mary West Health Institute in San Diego, and the Gary and Mary West Health Policy Center in Washington, D.C. West Health is dedicated to lowering healthcare costs to enable seniors to successfully age in place with access to high-quality, affordable health and support services that preserve and protect their dignity, quality of life and independence. Learn more at westhealth.org and follow @westhealth.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Sofia Kosmetatos
Director of Public Affairs
skosmetatos@westhealth.org
202.729.8574

Tim Ingersoll
Director of Communications, West Health
tpingersoll@westhealth.org
858.412.8727