U.S. Still Behind Other Countries in Effective Health Care Spending

U.S. Still Behind Other Countries in Effective Health Care Spending
October 11 01:00 2015

U.S. Still Behind Other Countries in Effective Health Care Spending

r years America’s gold-plated healthcare system has provided little bang for the buck. In 2013, the U.S. outspent 13 other high-income countries on medical care – including Australia, Canada, Germany and Great Britain. Yet the U.S. had comparatively poor health outcomes, including a shorter life expectancy and greater prevalence of chronic conditions, according to a new study by the Commonwealth Fund.

Based on the latest data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the study showed that the United States spent $9,086 per capita on health care coverage — or 17.1 percent of Gross Domestic Product — in 2013. That was an astounding 50 percent more in spending as a percentage of the overall economy than in France, the next biggest spender with 11.6 percent of GDP.

Even so, the United States had far fewer practicing physicians than the median OECD country (2.6 versus 3.2 physicians per 1,000 population) and fewer hospital beds and fewer discharges per capita in the median OECD country. With the notable exception of a much lower than average mortality rate for caner, the comparative global picture remains disappointing for the U.S.

“Time and again, we see evidence that the amount of money we spend on health care in this country is not gaining us comparable health benefits,” Dr. David Blumenthal, president of the Commonwealth Fund, said in a statement. “We have to look at the root causes of this disconnect and invest our health-care dollars in ways that will allow us to live longer while enjoying better health and greater productivity.”

Of course, U.S. health care costs are not only inflated higher prices. Chronic diseases like obesity, alcohol and drug abuse, and gun violence can’t be blamed on the health care industry.

It’s important to note that the study’s data from OECD predates by a year the full implementation of the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act. So it begs the question: how well have things gone under Obamacare?…

Read full story at The Fiscal Times
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