Is healthcare keeping the economy strong?

Richard A Meyer
4 min readJun 11, 2024

According to the Financial Times, a country’s economy can benefit from spending on healthcare, even if the health outcomes are not great. In the United States, spending on healthcare is high, but the health outcomes are not good. This could mean that the healthcare system is inefficient and not very effective. So, we should be careful when we say an economy is vital because we need to understand where the money is going and why.

Could lousy health outcomes, like the high prevalence of chronic illness or obesity, actually prop up a nation’s gross domestic product by maintaining high levels of healthcare-related expenditures and jobs? Interesting question.

Health care in the United States-the largest industry in the world’s largest economy-is notoriously cost-efficient. It consumes substantially more money per capita to deliver far inferior outcomes relative to peer nations. What is less widely recognized is that the industry is also remarkably energy inefficient.

Americans pay more for health care than any other people on Earth. Medical debt is the leading cause of personal bankruptcy in the U.S. High healthcare costs affect every level of our economy, from the federal government to the private sector.

The US spends over $4tn annually on healthcare, or around 17 percent of its GDP — well above the…

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Richard A Meyer

Marketing and Political thought leader — Writer- Audiophile