A series of news stories were published based upon a report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, (OECD), that showed that the United States spent the most on healthcare, yet was not doing well when compared to other wealthy nations in several key areas of health measurements.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development issued a report on December 8, 2009 called the “OECD Health Data 2009: Statistics and Indicators for 30 Countries” which included a detailed study on the US healthcare system. The portion of the report specific to the US called, “OECD Health Data 2009, How Does the United States Compare”, has with it some telling statistics about the US healthcare system and the results we get for the money spent.
Some of the interesting facts uncovered by the report are the following:
- The United States ranks far ahead of other OECD countries in terms of total health spending per capita, with spending of $7,290 . That represents almost two-and-a-half times greater than the other nations average of $2,964 in 2007. The next closest nation is Norway which follows, with spending of $4,763 per capita, followed by Switzerland with spending of $4,417 per capita.
- The US spends 16% of its Gross Domestic Product on healthcare, compared with France, Switzerland and Germany, which allocated 11.0%, 10.8% and 10.4% of their GDP to health respectively.
- The US pays a smaller portion of the health care bill from public funding than other nations. Only 45% of healthcare expenses are paid by public funds which is a much smaller amount compared to an average of 73% for other OECD nations.
- Infant mortality in the US is at 6.7 deaths per 1,000 live births which is well above the average of 3.9 per 1,000 live births.
- Life expectancy at birth in the U.S. was 78.1 years in 2007 which is a year less than the OECD average of 79.1, and puts the U.S. just ahead of the Czech Republic, Poland and Mexico. Norway and Switzerland have a 2 to 4 year longer life expectancy over the US.
The study also noted that drug spending has increased everywhere with the US leading the way. According to the report, per capita spending on pharmaceuticals rose by almost 50 percent over the last 10 years in OECD countries, reaching a total of $650 billion in 2007. The U.S. was the world’s biggest spender on pharmaceuticals, spending $878 per person, with Canada next at $691 per person and the OECD average at $461.