January 18, 2010
1 min read

Down economy has forced a revaluation of worth of health care

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KOLOA, Hawaii — Calls for health care reform have brought about a change in the perceived value of health care, and ophthalmologists should brace for some uncertainty as the physician payment landscape is reset, according to a speaker here.

John B. Pinto
John B. Pinto

Health care spending has accelerated over the past 3 decades and now equals 18% of the total gross domestic product in the United States, a rate 1.5 times higher than the rest of the industrialized world, John B. Pinto said at Hawaiian Eye 2010. If left unchecked, that spending could reach beyond the point of economic viability.

"By 2020, unless something is done, we are on track to spend one out of every four dollars flowing through the American economy on health care," Mr. Pinto said.

As the American economy has grown since 1980, the American worker has seen an increase in average income of 38%, from $29,000 per year to $48,000 in 2008. During that same time, health care spending has ballooned 214% from $700 billion annually to $2.2 trillion. The average per person expenditure on health care has risen 135% from $3,000 to $7,300.

That growth has now accelerated beyond the capacity of the American economy to offset that cost, Mr. Pinto said. Today's stagnant economic environment only exacerbates the angst caused by inflated costs, he added.

Hawaiian Eye and Retina 2011 will be held January 16-21, 2011 at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa in Ka'anapali, Maui. Learn more at OSNHawaiianEye.com.