That improvement, however, is definitely still needed. Poulsen cited statistics that show current costs make it prohibitive for many of the nation's uninsured to get adequate healthcare. He also predicted that healthcare costs will rise about 50 percent per person over the next five years if the increases continue at their current rate.
However, Poulsen said that the number was more in line with basic inflation than most people think.
"The Wells Fargo Inflation Summary for 1998-2006 shows that the price for all goods went up about 54 percent," said Poulsen. "The price for medical goods -- cat-scans, medication -- went up about 57 percent during the same period.
"When we buy health care, a lot of the time we're buying the items that make up health care."
Another reason that healthcare costs have gone up is that people are living longer. According to Poulsen, average healthcare spending on a 19 to 29-year-old is $2,000 a year, while average spending for a 60 year old is approximately $8,000 a year. Behavioral issues are also increasing the price of living longer, particularly a lack of diet and exercise that dramatically raises the chance of heart attacks and strokes.
On top of that, even more costs are added by people's insistence on remaining as active in their old age as they did when they were younger.
"Our expectations now are that we're not going to be debilitated and kept from activity," said Poulsen. "We expect to still be able to do things our parents and grandparents wouldn't have dreamed of."
Despite these costs, however, there are advantages to both the American and Utah healthcare systems. In the U.S., the wait time for major surgeries such as hip replacement or heart surgery is several months less than in European countries, and according to statistics cited by Poulsen the chances of a person surviving a serious car accident are twice as high as in other first-world nations.
In Utah, which according to Poulsen currently has the lowest insurance premiums in the country, the per capita health rate versus health spending is better than that found in the country as a whole as well as other first-world nations.
"Other states are either dealing with a health crisis or already spend so much they don't have enough money to work with," said Poulsen, who has also consulted with both the U.K Department of Health and the Swedish Ministry of Health. "While reform is still needed, Utah is beginning from a position of strength."