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Reproduced from Kaiser Family Foundation; Chart: Axios Visuals

Voters care a lot about drug prices, but they’re not the main reason the U.S. spends so much on health care.

The big picture: The U.S. spends twice as much per person as other wealthy nations, according to a new Peterson-Kaiser Tracker analysis — and hospitals and outpatient care are the primary culprits.

By the numbers: The U.S. spent $10,637 per capita on health care in 2018. Comparable countries spent $5,527.

  • The overwhelming majority of the difference — 76% of it — came from spending on inpatient and outpatient care — not drugs, which get more attention but represent just 10% of the difference.

Why it matters: Cutting hospital spending is hard to do without causing real pain, and that has made it politically risky, as well.

  • A public option, like that proposed by Joe Biden, would put pressure on hospital prices. The intensity of that pressure would depend on the plan’s payment level and how many people it covers, which would affect its purchasing power.
  • A single-payer health plan would have even more leverage, though universal coverage — not price controls — is usually its supporters’ primary focus.
  • The hospital industry led the lobbying effort that killed a public option in the Affordable Care Act, and spent millions in the Democratic primaries this year advertising against Medicare for All.

What we're watching: President Trump has set out new price transparency rules for hospitals, though its likely impact on costs is unclear and the industry has challenged it in court.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated Nov 4, 2020 - Economy & Business

Tech and health care stocks lead post-election stock market rally

Photo: Xinhua/Wang Ying via Getty Images

Stocks jumped on Wednesday — the tech-centric Nasdaq closed up 3.8%, outpacing the S&P and Dow's gains — with the presidential race up in the air and Democrats' hopes of gaining control of the Senate fading.

Why it matters: Alongside health care stocks, tech companies that helped propel stocks back to record highs are leading the market as full results from the 2020 election remain unknown.

2 hours ago - Podcasts

Former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes on the Senate runoffs

The future of U.S. politics, and all that flows from it, is in the hands of Georgia voters when they vote in two Senate runoffs on January 5.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the election dynamics with former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes, a Democrat who served between 1999 and 2003.

2 hours ago - Health

Cuomo orders emergency hospital protocols as COVID capacity dwindles

Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Monday that struggling state hospital systems must transfer patients to sites that are not nearing capacity, as rising coronavirus cases and hospitalizations strain medical resources.

Why it matters: New York does not expect to get the same kind of help from thousands of out-of-state doctors and nurses that it got this spring, Cuomo acknowledged, as most of the country battles skyrocketing COVID hospitalizations and infections.