It's the prices, stupid: Why the United States is so different from other countries

Gerard F Anderson, Uwe E. Reinhardt, Peter S. Hussey, Varduhi Petrosyan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This paper uses the latest data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to compare the health systems of the thirty member countries in 2000. Total health spending - the distribution of public and private health spending in the OECD countries - is presented and discussed. U.S. public spending as a percentage of GDP (5.8 percent) is virtually identical to public spending in the United Kingdom, Italy, and Japan (5.9 percent each) and not much smaller than in Canada (6.5 percent). The paper also compares pharmaceutical spending, health system capacity, and use of medical services. The data show that the United States spends more on health care than any other country. However, on most measures of health services use, the United States is below the OECD median. These facts suggest that the difference in spending is caused mostly by higher prices for health care goods and services in the United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-105
Number of pages17
JournalHealth Affairs
Volume22
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2003

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Health(social science)
  • Health Professions(all)
  • Health Policy

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