CrossFit | Link Between Health Spending and Life Expectancy: U.S. Is an Outlier

Link Between Health Spending and Life Expectancy: U.S. Is an Outlier

ByCrossFitJanuary 7, 2019

The Our World in Data graph shows that increased health care spending resulted in greater life expectancy in a host of countries from 1970 to 2015. The United States stands out as the greatest spender by far, but despite health care spending in the trillions, Americans can expect to live shorter lives than citizens of countries that spend much less on health. Compare the United States with Japan: The U.S. spends more than twice as much on health care, yet Japanese people can expect to live years longer.

Compounding the problem, the United States is receiving a poor return on its investments, as additional spending is generating only modest increases in life expectancy. Through an average annual expenditure increase of 4.06 percent, the U.S. generated a 0.24 percent average annual change in life expectancy. For comparison, as seen in the full interactive graph on Our World In Data’s website, Slovenia’s 3 percent average annual spending increase produced an average annual life-expectancy change that’s almost double the U.S. number. The U.S. also experiences higher rates of child mortality and maternal mortality than other wealthy countries despite its incredible spending. The data suggests the U.S. health care system is increasingly inefficient at best and completely broken at worst.

Comments on Link Between Health Spending and Life Expectancy: U.S. Is an Outlier


Comment thread URL copied!
Back to 190108
Matthieu Dubreucq
October 20th, 2019 at 2:04 pm
Commented on: Link Between Health Spending and Life Expectancy: U.S. Is an Outlier

Let's make sure we learn from this. Canada is not far from the US and we now have the data to see that if we don't seriously look at our health as something we all have control (lifestyle choices) over we are doomed to go down the same path as the US.

Comment URL copied!
Peter Shaw
November 20th, 2019 at 3:20 pm

I agree Matt.

The healthcare system is a big ship to turn, but CrossFit is doing what it can at the ground level. The empirical evidence showing effect of CrossFit combined with proper nutrition is impossible to ignore. It won't be long before countries looking to get healthier and spend less are looking in our direction.

Comment URL copied!
Kyle Laney
December 20th, 2019 at 9:02 pm

Yes, we are spending too much money on healthcare in America. But to throw doctors under the bus is reprehensible. People need to stop expecting doctors to be magicians. A lot of the money we are spending are because people are not taking care of themselves as well as they could at younger ages and people, through the marvels of modern medicine, are growing older. So the medical system is simultaneously dealing with a more chronically sick younger population and a more acutely sick older population. Throwing doctors under the bus fixes nothing. The medical system is in no way perfect but finding ways to encourage people to live healthy lifestyles without unnecessary promotion of pseudoscience should be strongly encouraged.

Comment URL copied!
Felipe Castor
January 14th, 2019 at 6:18 pm
Commented on: Link Between Health Spending and Life Expectancy: U.S. Is an Outlier

I want to congrats the brand Crossfit. I never saw in my life a private enterprise that fights for public health in all the ways like you. I'd like to say it personally to Greg Glassman. Anyway, I hope he don't stop to fight against this obsolete system where majority people are sick and dying.

As this article shows, the inequality in health spends is the main obstacle to develop public health in US. The total spending with health is big, but it is concentrated on rich people. Here in Brazil it is not different. It is reflecting, many ways, the huge income inequality in both countries. So I call you to put more efforts to pressure for politics that assure public health to ordinary people.

It would be amazing if you start to fight for an Universal Health Care system in US.

Comment URL copied!
Cat Scott
January 9th, 2019 at 2:30 pm
Commented on: Link Between Health Spending and Life Expectancy: U.S. Is an Outlier

It would be very useful if you could attribute the date and source for opinions as well as for the various scientific papers you are now citing. For example, Dr Angell's opinion statement in the Jan 8 EOD was published ~14 years ago in 2004.

Comment URL copied!
Greg Glassman
January 12th, 2019 at 3:44 am

Cat, don't be lazy. You found the truth. That's how fucked up things were in 2004. What's happened since? It's gotten worse. Much worse. Look up Dr. Angell's background. Her opinions will have bearing for a 100 years.

Don't pretend like we're offering science that is old and stale, long replaced by new and more valid science. The dates of everything we've offered are abundantly clear and ultimately not important.

This is science not Kim Kardashians webpage.

Comment URL copied!
Clarke Read
January 8th, 2019 at 7:54 pm
Commented on: Link Between Health Spending and Life Expectancy: U.S. Is an Outlier

This is a maddeningly complex issue, but the big picture is clear - whatever the cause, (1) the U.S. is overspending on healthcare and (2) (which I find more important), health care efficiency and progress in the U.S. has at best stalled and at worst fallen.

For (1), the argument may be as simple as prices, as some have argued: (apologies for the paywall)

It also could be structural or a function of the way diseases both occur and are handled in the U.S. - the original source notes 50% of healthcare spending is consumed by 5% of the population

And yet, when we look at trend data within the U.S., the picture looks arguably worse. Over the past 25 years, life expectancy has increased only 4% (75.5 to 78.6 yr) and disease burden decreased 12% while healthcare spending as a share of GDP has increased 40% ($788B, 12.8% to $3.3T, 17.9%). That does not look like progress, and as a trend, it’s unsustainable.

(While comparable countries have seen HC expenses grow as much as the U.S.’s in percentage terms, they were starting from a lower baseline and saw greater health quality improvements)

If healthcare were a product, a 4% (or 12%) improvement in quality alongside a 40% increase in real cost over 25 years would be considered a failure. There are certainly savings that can be had from structural improvements in the way healthcare is delivered, paid for and administered in the U.S., possibly major ones. But given the billions collectively spent on healthcare R&D (private + public) every year, this reflects the poor return on our investment in new treatment modalities - pharmaceutical or otherwise - over this period.

Maybe healthcare is doomed to “Eroom’s Law”, where care improvements will become progressively more expensive and there’s little we can do about it. Or maybe the majority of healthcare investment and efforts over the same period have been focused in the wrong areas, categorically. An increasing share of the healthcare and healthcare-adjacent population is arguing the latter. Even if just as a hedge, investment in this alternative is warranted given the predicted ROI of standard operating procedure.

Comment URL copied!
Brittney Saline
January 8th, 2019 at 7:25 pm
Commented on: Link Between Health Spending and Life Expectancy: U.S. Is an Outlier

"Studies find, for instance, that administrative costs in the health sector are higher in the US than in other countries..."

Health care in the U.S. is more about business than health.

Comment URL copied!
joshua webster
January 17th, 2019 at 1:01 am

Did you ever read the "Bitter Pill" articles that were written in TIME magazine? They are all about the subject of how much our healthcare costs when it's allowed to be managed by hospitals and "chargemasters". Really interesting stuff.

Comment URL copied!
Keri Mucha
January 8th, 2019 at 2:02 pm
Commented on: Link Between Health Spending and Life Expectancy: U.S. Is an Outlier

I've been an inpatient hospital nurse for over 10 years and I can definitively say my patient population has been getting sicker. While it's discouraging to see, I feel super hopeful that all the truth CrossFit is bringing to the table will contribute to the change we so desperately need.

Comment URL copied!
Chris Sinagoga
January 8th, 2019 at 5:06 am
Commented on: Link Between Health Spending and Life Expectancy: U.S. Is an Outlier

I like the URL link to this page haha. As always, good to bring this stuff to light.

Comment URL copied!