MARIETTA - Projections made by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services indicate that by 2020, national health spending is expected to reach $4.6 trillion and comprise 19.8 percent of the gross domestic product.
According to experts, there are many reasons why health care costs as much as it does.
"The way that fees and the cost of care is determined is really by the complexity of the procedure, the time involved in the procedure and resources used - whether it's an MRI or CT scan or an X-ray or an operating room - and other factors that go into the overall cost of providing care," said Jason Koma, spokesman for the Ohio State Medical Association. "The cost of providing care has to extend to every factor you can imagine that goes into a medical office and medical practice, from the physician's time to the receptionist's time and keeping the lights on."
The Ohio Hospital Association indicates a major reason why the cost of health care services is on the rise is because the number of uninsured is on the rise.
According to the association, hospitals give a significant amount of care at no charge to those who can't afford it, but they must then adjust their fees to make up for not being reimbursed by those who can't pay.
"Today we all pay for the uninsured in ways that are inefficient and unfair," said Cathy Levine, executive director of the Universal Health Care Action Network of Ohio. "A thousand dollars of a family premium in Ohio goes to cover the cost of providing care for the uninsured."
Experts say there is also a link between obesity and higher health care spending, with a report released earlier this year by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development indicating that 75 percent of Americans will be overweight by 2020.
"Right now just about 75 cents of every dollar spent on health care goes towards treating a chronic condition. In Ohio, that costs about $57 billion a year in health care and lost productivity," Koma said. "In many cases, the chronic conditions are things preventable, whether it stems from smoking or a lack of health and wellness, in which obesity comes into play."
According to a Cornell University study, obesity is responsible for 21 percent of America's health care spending. The study indicates annual medical costs for an obese American are $2,741 higher (using 2005 dollars) than for Americans who are not obese, adding up to $190.2 billion nationwide.
Medical malpractice also plays a part when it comes to health care costs, with a 2010 study from the Harvard School of Public Health indicating that the cost of medical malpractice in the United States is $55.6 billion annually, making up 2.4 percent of annual health care spending.
"Defensive medicine adds to the cost of the medical delivery system," Koma noted. "That's ordering and following through with a number of extra tests and procedures for a particular patient. Reasons that can happen are because of a lack of protection from a liability standpoint from the physician."
Koma added that in Ohio, there is medical liability reform that has reduced malpractice lawsuits by 41 percent since 2005, resulting in physicians saving about 26 percent in their medical liability premiums since that time.
"We don't have medical liability reform like we have in Ohio at the federal level," he said. "The federal government has estimated that federal medical liability reform would save around $54 billion dollars if implemented."