Background U.S. healthcare spending will reach 20% of GDP by 2026. Despite this spending, almost 14% of our under-65 population still lacks health insurance and out-of-pocket healthcare spending is high. To date, much of the healthcare reform debate has focused on who pays—the government, employers or individuals. Objective To review current healthcare reform issues and evidence. Method We address the questions of how much we pay, how we pay and what we receive for the money as a potential foundation for constructive dialogue. Results U.S. healthcare spending continues to exceed that of other countries, without offering universal coverage. Notwithstanding coverage expansions implemented under the Affordable Care Act, uninsurance rates have been rising. Rapid growth of high deductible plans has also significantly increased rates of underinsurance. There is very little evidence that specific policies or interventions employed to date will significantly reduce cost, especially under a fee for service system, where volume makes up for cuts. Global risk payments hold the greatest promise for real cost containment because they can drive true delivery system reform. Conclusion Meaningful, long-term healthcare reform cannot be successful until comprehensive, evidence-based policies that address healthcare costs are fully embraced and implemented.

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Published in Journal of Family Medicine and Health Care, v. 6, issue 1, p. 24-30.

Copyright © 2020 Authors retain the copyright of this article.

This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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