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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Health insurance through an employer — the way most Americans get it — costs an annual average of almost $23,000 to cover a family. That's enough to buy a new Volkswagen every year.

The big picture: While those costs keep rising, Americans' life expectancy is falling.

By the numbers: Altogether, the U.S. spent $3.6 trillion last year on health care.

  • We spend far more than any other wealthy country, and we are no healthier for it.

Be smart: We don't spend so much because we go to the doctor more than people in other countries. It's because we pay much higher prices for the same services — for MRIs or a knee replacement or new drugs — and those costs keep going up.

Our actual health isn't great, either.

  • Americans' life expectancy has been declining for three straight years — the first time that's happened in decades.
  • That's largely a product of the opioid crisis, which has proven difficult to arrest, in part, because the U.S. spends its money on treating physical illnesses, rather than on prevention or mental-health treatment.

These colliding crises are why health care is so dominant in the 2020 debate — and why it will stay that way.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Janet Yellen confirmed as Treasury secretary

Janet Yellen. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Senate voted 84-15 to confirm Janet Yellen as Treasury secretary on Monday.

Why it matters: Yellen is the first woman to serve as Treasury secretary, a Cabinet position that will be crucial in helping steer the country out of the pandemic-induced economic crisis.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Scoop: Red Sox strike out on deal to go public

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The parent company of the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool F.C. has ended talks to sell a minority ownership stake to RedBall Acquisition, a SPAC formed by longtime baseball executive Billy Beane and investor Gerry Cardinale, Axios has learned from multiple sources. An alternative investment, structured more like private equity, remains possible.

Why it matters: Red Sox fans won't be able to buy stock in the team any time soon.