A Policy Statement from Northwestern Health Sciences University

Persistent health inequities, poor return on the investment of healthcare expenditures, and the fragility of our nation’s healthcare infrastructure have been amplified in 2020. (1) COVID has impacted us all, especially those with obesity and co-morbidities. Calls for racial justice have illuminated health disparities and the ways in which our healthcare system is not equitable. (2) Financial barriers to care, including rising insurance premiums, high deductibles, and co-pays, decrease access and lead to the avoidance or delay of services for health problems that worsen when left unrecognized. (3)

Despite spending 18% of our GDP on healthcare, Americans experience worse health outcomes in numerous categories compared to comparable countries. (4) Many experts consider the disproportionate spending on the delivery of healthcare services, in lieu of a greater investment in public and population-focused community health measures, to be a misalignment of national priorities. (5, 6)

As we anticipate the problems that face us in the year ahead, we should use this moment to reconsider how we view health and commit to a more holistic and equitable approach toward health and wellbeing.