Health Care in the United States
The United States spends more on health care than any other developed country in the world. OECD data shows that the U.S. spent 17.1% of its GDP on health care in 2013. This was almost 50% more than the next highest spender (France, 11.6% of GDP) and almost double what was spent in the U.K. (8.8%). U.S. spending per capita was equivalent to $9,086  .
Since 1980, the gap has widened between U.S. health spending and that of other countries.
- Over the past four decades, the difference between health spending as a share of the economy in the U.S. and comparable OECD countries has widened. In 1970 the U.S. spent about 7% of its GDP on health .
While the U.S. has similar public spending, its private sector spending is triple that of comparable countries.
In 2012 the US spent about 8% of its GDP on health out of public funds – essentially equivalent to the average of the other eleven comparable OECD countries. However, private spending in the U.S. is much higher than any comparable country – 9% of GDP in the U.S., compared to 3% on average for other nations .
Health care prices are higher in the U.S. compared to other countries.
Hospital and physician prices for procedures are higher in the U.S. than other countries.
2013 data published by the International Federation of Health Plans show that the average price of bypass surgery was $75,345 in the U.S. This is more than $30,000 higher than in the second-highest country, Australia, where the procedure costs $42,130. According to the same data source, MRI and CT scans were also most expensive in the U.S. While these pricing data are subject to significant methodological limitations, they illustrate a pattern of significantly higher prices in many areas of U.S. health care .
Other studies have observed high U.S. prices for pharmaceuticals. A 2013 investigation by Kanavos and colleagues created a cross-national price index for a basket of widely used in-patent pharmaceuticals. In 2010, all countries studied had lower prices than the U.S. In Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom, prices were about 50 percent lower .
Despite spending the most on health care, the U.S. has inferior health outcomes.
Life expectancy at birth in the U.S. is lower than in other developed countries, despite higher health care costs.
The U.S. has the highest infant mortality rate among OECD countries.
The prevalence of chronic diseases are higher in the U.S. than in other comparable countries .
Though the Patient Care and Affordable Care Act (ACA) has reduced the number of Americans uninsured, it still has many shortcomings.
The ACA has reduced the number of individuals uninsured by 20 million .
However, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that even by 2019, 23 million people will still be uninsured, after full implementation of the law.
Many people are left out--even those insured are often underinsured, not all needed care is accessible, and many cannot afford to get the care they need .