Just The Facts

U.S. Healthcare: On the Costly Edge

How does U.S. health spending compare to other major systems and major populations?

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  • The US spends at least 50% more on healthcare than all other major economies with large populations.
  • The US devotes 16.4% of its economy to healthcare. Germany & France spend about 11%.
  • For its health spending, the US does not have better health outcomes – except on cancer treatment.

1. The United States spends 16.4% of its national GDP – or $2.75 trillion – each year on healthcare costs (as of 2013).

2. Healthcare consumes a far greater share of national GDP in the United States than in any other OECD country – at least 50% more than in other comparable countries.

3. In Germany, healthcare consumed 11% of GDP in 2013. France spent 10.9% of GDP on it.

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4. The two countries use a tightly regulated and largely non-profit system for health insurance to provide competitive coverage options.

5. The United Kingdom, with 64 million people under a unified and centralized single-payer payment and care system, spent 8.5% of GDP on healthcare.

6. Canada, with its single-payer national health insurance system and private care providers, spent 10.2%.

7. The second most populous developed nation, Japan, spent 10.2% of its GDP on healthcare, via non-profit insurance and private hospitals.

8. For all of this money, the United States does not have better health outcomes – except on cancer treatment.

9. Relative to peer nations, U.S. life expectancy is lower, chronic diseases are more widespread, infant mortality is higher.

Sources: The Globalist Research Center, OECD and The Commonwealth Fund

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