Commercial and professionally controlled health care is too expensive for the poor people who may have to spend at least 40% of their earnings on prescription drugs. What they spend on medicines and doctors they cannot spend on food, so the children do not have enough to eat and get sick easily.
Health care costs are becoming too expensive both for governments and for patients. In Britain in 1995, the National Health Service accounted for 15% of government spending and 6% of the gross domestic product (GDP), equivalent to £670 per capita.
In Germany in 1996, workers were spending 14.5% of their gross wages on health insurance. National spending on hospitalizations rose 36%, and spending on doctors and dentists 29% between 1991 and 1995. The government intends to allow insurers more flexibility in determining premiums and what they will cover in an effort to reduce costs.
From 1989 to 1990, in the USA, advances in high-technology medicine contributed at least 20% of a 10.1% rise in health care costs. One single heart/liver/kidney transplant, necessitating 4 months hospitalization, cost medical expense of $1.2 million in 1990. This was part of a pattern of increasing health costs, often born by employers who were consequently concerned with the erosion of their profitability, competitiveness and ability to raise wages. Health experts in the USA then argued that the country no longer has the financial resources to provide unlimited medical treatment for all those who need it.
However health costs continued to grow annually. For instance, spending grew 5.7% in 1999 and by 6.9% in 2000. Also, the rate of increase from 1999 to 2000, 1.2%, was the largest positive change in the growth rate since 1993. In 2000, for the first time in almost a decade, health expenditures outpaced the growth of the economy (6.9% compared with a GDP of 6.5%). domestic This was the third year of accelerating growth in health spending. 24% of the increase in private and public health spending for 2000 was for hospitals. Prescription drug spending accounted for 9.4% of the increase. But the cost of drugs rose by 17.3% in 2000, the sixth consecutive year of double-digit growth.
The basic dilemma of modern medicine is that more health care methods have been invented than society can afford to pay for. Too much money is spent on high-technology care for the few and too little on basic health care for the many.
No expense should be spared in endeavouring to save and prolong human life.