The war on death has not yet been won. Everyone, so far, has died and the American way of death is expensive. Although death is guaranteed for every human being, end-of-life costs for Americans can be high and often do little to improve the quality of death and dying. With 52.3 million beneficiaries adding up to $583 billion in health care expenditures in 2013 alone, Medicare faces the seemingly impossible feat of creating a sustainable health care system. Medicare’s high financial burden stems from America’s inability to balance the expensive, rapidly increasing advances in medicine with the need to embrace death thereby improving end-of-life care.
Although the US spends the most money per capita for total care after age 65, we rank poorly in comparison to the rest of the world in end-of-life quality. The international community has developed creative solutions to improve accessibility to end-of-life care with scarce resources, even in developing countries.