Health Care: A Green Industry?

The Associated Press reports today that the health care sector contributes 8% of greenhouse gas emissions despite making up 16% of the nation’s economy.

Hospitals, nursing homes, drug companies and the rest of the sector contributed 8 percent of U.S. emissions, according to an analysis in Wednesday’s Journal of the American Medical Association. Health care makes up 16 percent of U.S. gross domestic product.

While many have been hailing this is as an accomplishment and point of pride for the health care industry and environmental sustainability.  However, health care is a different animal than any other industry.  The product is not a consumable good a majority of the time.

While this study did include all of the equipment and drugs involved in the health care system, the true reason why health care is so costly is the salaries and administrative complications involved in the health care delivery system.  Additionally, this study looked into greenhouse gases rather than all environmental degradations.  Taking these radioactive and chemical impacts into account the health industry is sure to impact the environment far greater than this study suggests.

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Filed under Environment, Health Policy

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