Why we spend so much on health care

Why do we spend so much on health care?

I’m not talking about why “we” as Americans spend more than other nations or why we spend more today than last year, even in real terms. I’m talking about why we as humans spend a lot on health care.

My answer is simple. It’s pure psychology. It’s this: you could die,* you don’t know how to avoid it, and that person in the white coat with the prescription pad or knife just might.

* Don’t be so literal. Bad health outcomes that don’t kill you are sufficiently frightening. I’m using “die” as a stand in for “suffer the bad health outcome you fear” (loss of function of any number of body parts, cognitive impairment, loss of income, loss of time with family or on the job, and so forth).

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