Heard on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

Nearly Half of All Federal Spending Goes to Health Care. How Do We Fix It?

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Image credit: Jake Neher/WDET

Researchers at Johns Hopkins say a whopping 48% of federal spending is devoted to healthcare.

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Dr. Marty MakaryJake Neher/WDET
Jake Neher/WDET

Dr. Marty Makary

The current healthcare system is just not working for millions of people in America. It’s extremely confusing terrain to navigate for people of all ages, and it can be extremely costly.

The fact that Americans spend a ton of money on health care should come as no surprise. But it might be shocking to hear just how much of our federal money ends up going to health care.

According to a team of researchers at Johns Hopkins University, almost half of all federal spending goes to medical costs. 

Dr. Abdul El-SayedJake Neher/WDET
Jake Neher/WDET

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed

Everyone should be able to get great healthcare and we already spend enough money in America to give everyone good healthcare,” says Dr. Marty Makary, a surgical oncologist and researcher at Johns Hopkins, who recently wrote an op-ed in USA Today titled “We spend about half of our federal tax dollars on health care. That’s ridiculous.”

We’ve got to cut the waste. Throwing money into a broken system…isn’t going to fix the problem,” he says on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson. 

Makary blames “middlemen, pricing failures, and inappropriate care” for the high price of health care in the United States.

He is skeptical of many of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates’ health care proposals, many of which promote a universal healthcare model for overhauling the system. His concern about single-payer systems is that governments tend to under-fund these major social programs, and he thinks healthcare would suffer the same fate.

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed has a different perspective. He’s a physician, epidemiologist, former Health Director for the City of Detroit, and host of America Dissected, a new 10-part podcast series from Crooked Media that’s focusing on public health issues. He also made a run for governor of Michigan in 2018.

In my mind, if you’re living longer and you’re more happy with your health care system, it’s probably a better health care system,” says El-Sayed, referring to Canada’s single-payer system and its popularity.” None of us really wants to be buying health care. We want health.”

Click on the audio player above to hear Dr. Marty Makary of Johns Hopkins University and Dr. Abdul El-Sayed discuss health care costs and possible solutions on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson.


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