HGMT-455-Response to Discussion Post 1

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6. Given the article and data tables on National Health care spending and forecast in this week’s reading, which components of health care do we spend the most dollars? And which area is the fastest growing segment?

The components of health care we spend the most dollars on is private health insurance which increased 4.2 percent to 1.2 trillion dollars in 2017. The fastest growing segment is durable medical equipment which was 54.4 billion in 2017 (“National Health Expenditures 2016,” n.d.).

National Health Expenditures 2016. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.cms.gov/research-statistics-data-and-systems/statistics-trends-and-reports/nationalhealthexpenddata/downloads/highlights.pdf

1. Why is the demand for healthcare different than other economic goods?

The demand for healthcare is different than other economic goods because the resources and limited and scarce. Patients do not behave the same as regular consumers. Medical knowledge is complex and difficult for patients to obtain and understand what service is best to treat their condition/symptoms, there is an inherent interference between consumer actions (i.e. vaccines or social distancing during a viral pandemic and public health), and health insurance reduces the sensitivity of demand to price changes. Key trade-offs, such as much of healthcare should be consumed and by whom, are made in healthcare that are not made with other economic goods. (UMGC, 2020)

Another factor unique to the demand for healthcare over other goods is the increasing prevalence of preventable illness which are influenced by the choices that consumers make. One example is the increasing rates of obesity in the United States and the utilization for chronic conditions as a result of a preventable condition. From 1999-2000 through 2017-2018, the CDC estimates that the prevalence of obesity increased from 30.5% to 42.4%. Obesity is a preventable condition but also chronic obesity can increase the rate of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. (CDC, 2020) The promotion of healthy lifestyles, including physical activity, healthy eating, non‐smoking and stress management are effective for the primary and secondary prevention of obesity and these diseases. Reducing the prevalence of obesity through a preventative versus sick care practice can “prevent the economy [from] being overwhelmed by the increasing demand for health care”. (Phillips, 2002)


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2020, February 27) Overweight & Obesity. Retrieved from, https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html

Phillips, P. (2002). The rising cost of health care: can demand be reduced through more effective health promotion? Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, 8(4), 415–419. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2753.2002.00378.x

University of Maryland Global Campus. (2020) UMUC HMGT 435Week 1: Economics and Health Economics Retrieved from, https://learn.umuc.edu/d2l/le/content/491801/viewContent/16962276/View