Jun 16, 2018 - Health

By the numbers: Where America's health care spending goes

Health care accounts for almost one-fifth of the American economy, making it the most expensive system in the world, by a wide margin.

Data: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services; Chart: Kerrie Vila/Axios

And the cost isn't going up because we're using more health care, but because of the prices we pay for those services.

What's next: There's agreement between the parties that the way we pay for health care — paying doctors and hospitals for each service they provide — is broken. The Affordable Care Act tried to advance a more integrated model and tie payments to the quality of care. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar shares those goals.

Be smart: One person's health care spending is another person's salary. For the system overall to spend less money, health care providers will have to make less money. And that's always a hard sell.

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40% of Iowa caucusgoers said health care was their top priority

Bernie Sanders at his caucus night party in Des Moines, Iowa. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Iowa Democrats reported Monday that their biggest priorities were beating President Trump and health care — but the meltdown of their election reporting systems left their presidential choices unresolved.

Why it matters: We've been writing for months that Democrats have a major choice ahead, either picking an advocate of Medicare for All — and siding with the plan that's less popular with the rest of the country — or a public option advocate.

Scoop: Trump told Azar he regrets involvement in vaping policy

Trump and HHS Sec. Alex Azar. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump told his health secretary yesterday that he regrets getting involved in the administration's policy on vaping, according to two sources familiar with the conversation. "I should never have done that f***ing vaping thing," Trump said during an impromptu call on speakerphone in an Oval Office meeting.

Why it matters: The administration's ban on flavored vapes is one of its most prominent health policy decisions, but trying to find a compromise between public health groups and the pro-vaping community caused massive political headaches.

Go deeperArrowJan 17, 2020 - Health

Americans are visiting primary care doctors less often

Adults in the U.S. are visiting primary care doctors less often, according to a new study in the Annals of Internal Medicine, which could foreshadow worse health outcomes and higher costs.

By the numbers: The study, which focused on adults enrolled with a large commercial insurer, found that, between 2008 and 2016, visits to primary care physicians declined by 24.2%, and nearly half of adults didn't visit one in any given year by the end of the time frame.

Go deeperArrowFeb 4, 2020 - Health