Study: US leads in healthcare spending, but ranks last in health
By Sam Baker – 05/12/11 12:11 PM ET
A new report reinforces statistics that supporters of healthcare reform have been trumpeting for years: The U.S. spends more than any other industrialized country on healthcare but has one of the least healthy populations.
The U.S. spent $7,500 per person on healthcare in 2008, according to data released Thursday by The Conference Board of Canada — far and away the most of any country studied. The report says the U.S. spends 16 percent of its gross domestic product on healthcare. Private expenses make up the majority of that spending.
Yet the U.S. ranked last among the 17 countries surveyed in life expectancy and infant mortality. It also has fewer doctors and hospital beds per capita than other countries, according to the report. Japan had the best outcomes, based on the criteria the study used, and the lowest per capita spending.
The low scores come despite a significant investment in prevention. Only Canada spends more on prevention and public health than the U.S., the survey says.
Above-average spending in the U.S. is driven not just by the heavy use of outpatient services such as diagnostic tests, the report said, but also the price of those services.
“Prices in the U.S. are higher across the board,” the report states. “U.S. general practitioners, specialists, and nurses are paid significantly more than physicians in other countries.”
Comment: Is anybody listening? We are spending ourselves to death to avoid death. We do not have healthy lifestyles, but look to medical care providers to compensate for our poor choices. We are willing to pay medical providers enormous amounts of money to rescue us, and we do it, in part, because they demand it. There’s not one of them buggers that’s in it as a service to humanity.
I’d like to see an identical study done about the spiritual condition of the seventeen countries. I’d bet that countries with high levels of spirituality correlate to low levels of expense for “health care” (which is sickness care, not health care). And the spiritual care providers—pastors—don’t demand high pay.
We refuse to take responsibility for our own health, consequently we make enormously high payments to professionals who cannot, really, rescue us from ourselves. We are a nation that is afraid of death, and with good reason. That Judgment Day thing is going to be a bitch with so many people unprepared.