Spending more on health care may not lengthen life the most

Advances in medicine have caused health expenditures to rise and life spans to lengthen in most affluent nations—except the United States.

From high-tech surgeries to groundbreaking HIV treatments, medical innovation has dramatically improved health outcomes since the 1980s. In wealthy nations, health care spending has risen, and lives have been lengthened. But the United States follows a slightly different pattern, with skyrocketing health expenditures and a much slower increase in life expectancy. Unequal access to treatment and poor preventive care for many U.S. residents may partly explain the difference, analysts say.

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