In a recent poll, Americans rated health care as the most important issue facing the country. Although the United States spends more health care dollars per person than any other country, it ranks near the bottom among other wealthy nations in key areas of health including homicides, obesity and diabetes, and chronic lung disease. A lack of health insurance, high rates of poverty, income inequality and reduced physical activity are just a few of the contributing factors to America’s poor health.
The U.S. spends $9,990 per person on health care or 17.8 percent of the GDP—far higher than the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average of 8.9 percent per person. The high cost of health care in America means that citizens with below-average incomes are more likely than their counterparts in other countries to report not visiting a doctor when sick, getting a recommended test or treatment, filling a prescription or seeing a dentist. The rise of chronic diseases among Americans contribute large proportions to health care costs, as well as high administrative costs.