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Ezekiel Emanuel (Samuel Masinter / CC BY 3.0)

A Penn Medicine professor recently wrote an editorial for JAMA, arguing that numerous factors, beyond high prices, contribute to extensive healthcare costs in the United States.

Ezekiel Emanuel, chair for the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, argued that four main features of the healthcare system yield overspending. These factors include exorbitant administrative costs, medical imaging, high quantities and prices for surgical procedures, and pharmaceutical spending.

In his piece, Emanuel compares per capita healthcare spending between Europeans and Americans. 

His primary argument is that healthcare overspending stems not only from high costs, but also from purchase volume and medical procedures. He notes high pharmaceutical prices, alongside medical imaging like MRIs, as key areas of extensive expenditure in the U.S.

Emanuel argues that administrative expenses are one of the fundamental drivers of overspending in the U.S relative to European countries. He also suggests a notion of inefficiency in terms of the concentration and distribution of costs both at the administrative and procedural level. 

A recent Fox News article highlighted Emanuel's editorial and argued that healthcare overspending produces worse results for Americans. Fox News covered the implications of how U.S life expectancy fares when compared to European countries, showing a lower trajectory on average. 

Emanuel was considered an architect of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, reported the Washington Post.