Take 100 Americans who have used medical care this year, find the one who has receive the most medical care, and you have probably accounted for a fifth of all healthcare spending in that group. One person, 20% of spending – that is how skewed healthcare consumption is in this country. Here’s a picture, which Martin Gaynor circulated a while back, showing the concentration of healthcare spending:
This concentration of spending raises serious questions about proposals to curb healthcare expenditures by turning healthcare into more of a consumer market. The idea is that savvy consumers, when faced with part of the cost of their care, will be stingier about using medical resources. With so few people spending so much money, all of whom will have met out-of-pocket maximums, it doesn’t look like healthcare consumerism is going to be the cure-all for our spending ills.