After reading the results of a study published by the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), an analysis published in JAMA Internal Medicine on January 22nd found that although Americans’ out-of-pocket costs decreased 11.9 percent since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. On the other hand, health care insurance premiums have increased by 12.1 percent over the same period.
According to the Contagion Live, the research reveals that if Canadian provinces increased spending on Social Programs by 1 cent for every dollar spent on health care, they would see a 0.1 percent reduction in “potentially avoidable mortality.” Ap0.01 percent increase in overall life expectancy.
“Our analysis showed that increased social spending was positively associated with population health measures in Canada at the provincial level and that health spending did not have the same association. The ratio of social to health spending is a potential avenue through which the government can affect population health outcomes. The ratio of social to health spending is low, so redistributing money from health to social spending represents a small relative change in health spending,” CMAJ revealed.
Douglas E. Hough, Ph.D., a health economist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and author of Irrationality in Healthcare, believes there are points to be learned in the United States from the Canadian analysis. Hough did an analysis of the US healthcare system from a behavioral economics perspective.
“One of the curious things about policymakers in the United States is that they do not seem to connect health care spending and social spending—spending on housing, education, crime—when spending on these programs can lead to improvements in overall health. Poor housing can be linked with asthma, for example. In fact, I suspect we’d see the same impact of social spending in the United States as the authors in Canada found.”
Furthermore, this obviously makes sense but considering the ongoing dysfunction in Washington, convincing the legislators to achieve consensus on such complex issues may be far from execution.