Why the U.S. Doesn’t Have More Hospital Beds

With much of the news focused on the surge capacity of the nation’s hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic, Drew Altman’s Axios column examines why the nation has a shortage of hospital beds and what can be done about it. He writes, “If we want to have surge capacity of hospital beds and equipment in place for the next crisis, and if we don’t want to push health care costs higher, hospitals will need to acquire extra beds and then leave that surge capacity largely unused until the next crisis. That means Congress would have to dictate that capacity by law, decide which hospitals to put it in, and fund it, while increasing the strategic stockpile of equipment like ventilators, masks and other protective equipment at the same time.“