The year 1982 saw nearly $287 billion—roughly 10% of the gross national product (GNP)—spent on health care. Physicians' fees accounted for less than 19% of the total health care cost, while health insurance company profits exceeded $6 billion. Hospital costs accounted for 41%; nursing homes, 8%; personal care, 21%; and other medical spending, 11%.
See also p 443.
Some argue that 10% of the GNP is a reasonable amount to spend on health care. One reason more money is being spent on health care is that governmental policies dating back to the late 1960s increased the number of physicians by 50%. Physicians must evaluate the patients who come to them, and evaluations cost money. Tobacco use, alcohol consumption, and poor dietary habits—factors that patients themselves could modify or control—are responsible for many expensive health problems physicians are required to treat. Finally, more people are living longer, only to fall victim
CANTRELL RW. Computed Tomography for Cervical Adenopathy: Does the Cost Justify the Results? Arch Otolaryngol. 1984;110(7):441–442. doi:10.1001/archotol.1984.00800330023004
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