Journal of the American Medical Association   |  June 9, 2011

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It is hard to overstate the intense political and media attention given to health care. New medical discoveries and technologies are front-page news stories. In many communities, healthcare is either the largest or at least a substantial employer, and rising employee health care costs are a major concern of individual families and employers alike. As a wealthy society, the fact that we invest more in health care than in subsistence goods is a measure of the value we place on high technology and specialized health services. The United States spends nearly 17 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on health care (a combination of public/private financing), or over $7000 on each American annually.

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