Rising Health Care Costs

Publication Year



Health Care, Insurance, Public Policy, Government Regulation


Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Health Economics | Health Policy | Health Services Administration | Medicine and Health Sciences


Health care costs have doubled over the past 10 years. All consumers, particularly those who are uninsured and those who are on fixed incomes are burdened by this rise in costs. John Kenneth Galbraith hypothesizes that a "Planned System" led by large industries who control markets, has replaced perfectly competitive markets. This, along with market imperfections such as information inequalities, has led to inefficiencies and higher prices. Galbraith, Arthur Okun, and Karl Marx also theorize that the production of necessities has been sacrificed in order to produce profit-maximizing products which may fail to meet the needs of the majority of the population. This has led to higher costs as well. The proliferation of for-profit health care along with market imperfections and lack of profitable preventive care lend support to Galbraith's theory. Market imperfections are the main problems underlying the rise in health costs. Revising current Medicare/Medicaid programs to ensure quality at lower cost, as well as further regulation of the health care industry are short-range goals which may mitigate the rise of health costs. Educating the public, promoting preventive care, particularly prenatal and childhood care through a national HMO system are the most feasible long-term solutions.

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