While the Affordable Care Act has helped slow the growth of skyrocketing health care costs, the pace of annual cost increases remains unsustainable. Health care expenditures have increased from just 4.4 percent of GDP in 1950 to more than 17 percent in 2013, with health care costs growing at a far faster rate than the economy as a whole. As a result, workers have seen their wages stagnate—additional earnings are quickly eaten up by the rapid growth in health care costs—while as a nation, we are left with less and less room to invest in infrastructure, education, and other priorities.
At the same time costs are increasing, our health care system does not do enough to prevent illness in the first place. Americans experience far more preventable hospitalizations than citizens in other advanced countries. In addition, too many Americans have experienced the frustration of dealing with confusing bills, duplicative tests, or poor or uncoordinated treatment.