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A study published in the March 13 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association examines healthcare spending and suggests that prices of labor and goods, as well as administrative costs may be the major drivers of a difference in overall cost between the United States and other high-income countries. 

The researchers analyzed 2013 to 2016 data from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Australia, Japan, Sweden, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Denmark, and found that in 2016, the United States spent 17.8 percent of its gross domestic product on health care, while spending in other countries ranged from 9.6 percent in Australia to 12.4 percent in Switzerland. The proportion of the population with health insurance was 90 percent in the United States, and between 99 percent and 100 percent in the other countries. The United States did not differ substantially from the other countries in physician workforce, nursing workforce, or numbers of hospital beds per capita, but had higher utilization of advanced imaging. Administrative costs of care accounted for 8 percent of U.S. spending, compared to 1 percent to 3 percent for other countries. Pharmaceutical spending per capita was $1,443 in the United States, and ranged from $466 to $939 in the other countries. In addition, salaries of physicians and nurses were higher in the United States than in comparator nations. Learn more...