Its annual value was $3.7 trillion, amounting to 17.9% of GDP (2018). That is nearly double the average of developed Western countries (as a share of GDP). The enormous expense does not buy Americans any better health than the Europeans get for half the price, in fact the health outcomes are far inferior in the US. In life expectancy, the US has fallen down to 33rd place, even overtaken by Cuba.
Exorbitant prices on drugs, medical treatment and health insurances are crushing consumers. Half of working age American adults have either no insurance at all or only an inadequate insurance and therefore risk being financially ruined for any kind of medical treatment – even just checking in at a hospital and leaving the same day could land you with a five-figure bill. Studies have shown that two-thirds of Americans are not able to afford a $500 unexpected cost for medical emergency, a sum which will not get you even past reception at an American hospital. According to the American Cancer Society, 137 million Americans suffered medical financial hardship in 2018. They then had to resort to borrow a total of $88 billion only to cover their necessary medical expenses. Medical bills are now the primary factor in two-thirds of all personal bankruptcies in the United States.