U.S. Health Care

Facts About Cost, Access, and Quality

by Dana P. Goldman, Elizabeth A. McGlynn

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Abstract

Focusing on the nation as a whole, this chart book provides an overview of key health care policy issues in the areas of cost, access, and quality. The United States spends approximately 15 percent of its gross domestic product on health care, making health care the largest single sector of the U.S. economy. Despite these levels of expenditure, Americans are not healthier and do not live longer than citizens in many other nations. American adults receive just half of recommended health care services. And quality does not vary much by socioeconomic factors. Health policy experts at RAND Health, a division of the RAND Corporation, have assembled this chart book to provide a factual basis for addressing the nation’s health care challenges. It is based on material prepared by RAND Health for a series of public meetings in California organized by the Communications Institute as part of its program of educational conferences for community leaders, policymakers, journalists, business executives, and government and labor officials.

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The research described in this report was conducted in the RAND Health Economics Research Program and in the Center for Research on Quality in Health Care and the Communications Institute.

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