US health care spending nearly double that of other high-income countries: report
Report found the US also has highest rate of people with multiple chronic conditions
Health care spending in the U.S. is nearly double the average of high-income countries, according to a new report.
The data from The Commonwealth Fund found that in 2021 the U.S. spent 17.8% of gross domestic product (GDP) on health care — nearly twice as much as the average Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) country.
In addition, health care spending per capita in the U.S. was three or four times greater than for countries like South Korea, New Zealand and Japan.
The study used data from the OECD Health Statistics 2022 database and the Commonwealth Fund International Health Policy Survey 2022.
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Furthermore, the researchers found that the U.S. has the lowest life expectancy at birth, the highest death rates for avoidable or treatable conditions, and the highest maternal and infant mortality rates. It also has the highest rate of people with multiple chronic conditions and an obesity rate nearly twice the OECD average, at nearly 43%.
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Americans see physicians less often than people in most other countries and have among the lowest rate of practicing physicians and hospital beds per 1,000 population.
The report highlights that the U.S. is the only high-income country that does not have universal health care, noting that the system "can seem designed to discourage people from using services."
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"Americans are living shorter, less healthy lives because our health system is not working as well as it could be," Munira Gunja, the report's lead author and senior researcher for the Commonwealth Fund’s International Program in Health Policy and Practice Innovations, said in a release. "To catch up with other high-income countries, the administration and Congress would have to expand access to health care, act aggressively to control costs and invest in health equity and social services we know can lead to a healthier population."