Annual spending on health care in America totals nearly $9,000 per person, accounting for more than 17 percent of the U.S. economy. Yet, on some of the most basic medical interventions, we’re failing.
Sometimes patients are over-treated, particularly with antibiotics and prescription opiates. But a problem that might be even bigger, from my vantage point, is under-treatment. Some highly effective medicines for potentially deadly conditions aren’t being used nearly often enough.
Consider hypertension, which affects nearly one-third of American adults and contributes to more than 1,000 deaths every day. We know how to address high blood pressure. In addition to lifestyle changes (things such as decreasing sodium intake and increasing exercise), there are safe and highly effective drugs to treat the condition.