Jan 8, 2020 - Health

The U.S. medical administrative bloat

Illustration of a man hunched over a desk covered in papers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

In 2017, U.S. insurers and providers spent $2,497 per capita on administration — nearly 5 times more than the $551 spent per capita in Canada, which has a much more heavily socialized system, according to a new study in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Why it matters: We're all paying this through our premiums, out-of-pocket costs and taxes.

By the numbers: Administrative spending makes up 34.2% of national health expenditures in the U.S. and 17% in Canada.

  • U.S. hospitals spent $933 per capita on administration, and insurers $844.

The bottom line: Our health care system charges the highest prices in the world, and then tacks on these administrative costs before handing over the bill to patients.

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