While members of Congress debate healthcare legislation, rheumatologists say many of their patients struggle to afford everything from generic drugs to insurance copayments for physical therapy.
Explore this issueJune 2017
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“It’s a mess. The cost of prescriptions and the rationale for those rising costs in the U.S. right now—it’s just a mess,” says James R. O’Dell, MD, Stokes-Shackleford Professor of Medicine, vice chair of internal medicine, and chief of the Division of Rheumatology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. “There are several areas where it is problematic and makes no sense at all.”
Soaring Ever Higher
Healthcare costs keep rising. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) estimates that U.S. prescription drug spending grew 9% in 2015 to $324.6 billion, and out-of-pocket spending by patients for healthcare costs grew 2.6% to $338.1 billion in the same year. The CMS projects that total national health expenditures will soar 5.6% each year between 2016 and 2025.1