The U.S. has the highest and fastest-growing per-capita health care costs in the world, far outpacing wage growth and inflation. As the 2020 election cycle ramps up, health care will continue to be a central and divisive issue among political candidates. One interesting dynamic that stood out to us was the increase in hospital emergency room (ER) visits (see chart below). Despite expanded health care overage and lofty ER costs, insurers and doctors remain frustrated by the over-reliance on the ER for non-emergency, “low acuity” conditions like the flu.
Source: Deutsche Bank
Several explanations have been put forth for the steady increase in ER visits during the last two decades, including aging demographics and lack of access to primary care physicians in rural areas. Whatever the reasons, the winter months are a particularly busy time for hospital emergency rooms due to slips on the ice, ladder accidents and shoveling-related issues. So be careful putting away those holiday decorations and take your time clearing the snow from the sidewalk. From all of us at Meristem, we wish you happy and safe, New Year.

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