A Vast Mismatch of Outcomes And Profits
Annual healthcare cost per person, US
Pharmaceutical company net profit margin
US annual healthcare spending
Despite the cost of our healthcare system, the US ranks 54th in infant mortality— behind Uruguay, Cuba and Russia and 34th in life expectancy. The US is still home to some of the best outcomes when it comes to highly technical procedures such as organ transplants and individualized cancer care. But for many other diseases we rank near the bottom of the 38 OECD (Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development) countries, which include many of the world’s wealthiest nations. The US also ranks among the highest for obesity and diabetes. Fully six in ten Americans have one or more chronic conditions including high blood pressure, diabetes and mental illness. Four in ten are dealing with more than one disease.
At the same time, in 2020 the 35 largest pharmaceutical companies had double the net profit margin (nearly 14%) of non-pharma companies listed on the S&P 500 Index. For-profit hospitals have made nearly 11% in net profits since 2019, even during the pandemic. Employee-sponsored health insurance has soared 47% for the average family since 2011, with deductibles consuming almost 12% of their income. Recent polls have found that 46% of insured adults struggle to afford out-of-pocket costs and 29% don’t take prescribed medicine because it costs too much. Medical costs are the number one cause of personal bankruptcies in the country.