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Health Care Costs: Higher and Higher

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Health Care Costs: Higher and Higher

January 25, 2010

Health care costs have been increasing in the United States for many years at a rate greater than inflation. In 2008, national health spending rose to $2.3 trillion for the first time, or nearly $7,700 per person, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Containing health costs is one of the largest policy challenges facing the nation. Conservatives and liberals agree that costs must be contained, but they don't agree on how.

The leading conservative approach is to let market forces drive costs down by encouraging consumers to choose high-deductible health plans. Many people on the left want to eliminate private insurance companies and adopt a single-payer government system, which would cut administrative costs. Cutting costs by reducing medical errors and improving quality are strategies with support from both the left and the right. Updated March 2010.

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