How is it possible that the Unites States spends more on health care than any other nation and remains one of the unhealthiest populations among developed countries? This question is the basis for “The American Healthcare Paradox: Why Spending More is Getting Us Less,” by Elizabeth H. Bradley, Ph.D., and Lauren Taylor. Based on extensive research, a comparative study of health care data from 30 countries showed that investing in social services directly correlates with a country’s overall health. This seminal research exposed that when countries dedicate more funds to expensive medical interventions without adequate attention to issues such as education, housing, and employment, they will see poorer health outcomes.
Expanding on the book’s findings, researchers at GHLI examine how the integration of social and medical services into a cohesive system could improve health outcomes. GHLI researchers lead the way in comparing state spending on non-medical factors including social, behavioral and environmental determinants of health to find that these issues play a substantial role in many areas of the population’s health including HIV/AIDS and obesity. GHLI studies have determined that states with higher social-to-health care spending have a lower rate of adults with obesity; mentally unhealthy days per month, lower HIV/AIDS case rates and fewer AIDS deaths.
GHLI continues to expand research on the interplay between health care and social services as well as to examine how to “redirect,” rather than increase, state funding to integrate social and health services with long term impact and more positive health outcomes.