It is a well known fact that the U.S. spends more on health care per person than any other country. But maybe healthcare spending is converging between countries?
At least for the years 2000-2008, there is mixed evidence. U.S. healthcare spending per person grew by 3.4%. This is slower than Spain (4.7%), the U.K. (4.6%), the Netherlands (4.3%), Belgium (4.2%), and Sweden (3.6%). However, spending as a share of GDP grew fastest in the U.S. of any country over this time period. The U.S. experienced a 2.6 percentage point gain in health care spending as a share of GDP. The next closest country was Belgium with a 2.1 percentage point increase in healthcare spending as a share of GDP and the Netherlands with a 1.9 percentage point increase.
In 2008, the disparities in healthcare spending as a share of GDP were still immense. The U.S. spent 16% of its economic production on health care. The next closest countries are France (11.2%), Belgium (11.1%), Switzerland (10.7%), Germany (10.5%), Austria (10.5%), Canada (10.4%), and the Netherlands (9.9%).
Even if the U.S. doesn’t reduce it’s health spending level, if the current health care spending rate does not slow, this country could be bankrupt sooner rather than later.
- Source: Kaiser Family Foundation using data from the OECD.