Acronym of the week would be more accurate, but GDUFA will be used as a word so it might as well be defined as one. With the passage of the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act on July 9, 2012, GDUFA (‘Generic Drug User Fee Amendments...
The old adage, “you get what you
pay for” does
not apply to healthcare. As noted in a Commonwealth Fund study recently released, the United States spends more on healthcare than 12 other industrialized countries – and it doesn’t seem that our care is any better.
The cost gap is substantial. The U.S. spends nearly $8,000 per person on health services while the next most expensive countries – Norway and Switzerland – spend a little more than $5,000 per person.
It is not like we are getting more for our money. This study showed that Americans have far fewer doctor visits and shorter lengths of hospitalization than other countries. In addition, quality is mixed and not demonstrably better than countries with far lower costs. While the U.S. has the highest survival rates for colorectal and breast cancers, we fare poorly for deaths related to asthma and diabetes. The World Health Organization ranks the U.S. no higher than 37th in health outcomes.
So, what accounts for such high expenditures and relatively poor returns on health? The Commonwealth study pointed to the high prices of medication and medical services, as well as the extensive use of medical technology such as MRIs and CT scans.
There is another culprit, and one that many Americans see in the mirror. The rising rate of obesity is adding to the cost of health services with sharp rises in diabetes and cardiovascular disease. As an aging population - every 10 seconds an American turns 50 – the need for healthcare services is also accelerating.
Getting more value for what we spend on healthcare has been a focus in health policy circles for decades. The Affordable Care Act, passed in 2010 and now under scrutiny by the Supreme Court, has many features designed to improve quality and reduce cost. If the law is upheld, we will see if Americans finally get true value for what we spend on healthcare.
We capture the opinions and insights of several of our employees on a variety of communication topics about Healthcare.