Does the US spend twice as much on health care as other developed nations?

Thursday, November 19, 2020
By Esther Tsvayg

U.S. per capita spending on health care is about twice the average of the 37 member states in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, according to OECD health statistics. The U.S. spent 17% of its gross domestic product on health care in 2019, against the OECD average of 8.8%. Switzerland, which ranks second-highest in total health care spending, spent 12.2% of GDP on health care in the same year.

In 2016, U.S. public spending on health care was comparable to that of other developed countries while private and out-of-pocket spending was significantly higher.

Health outcomes in the U.S. are generally not better than in the other OECD states. The Peter G. Peterson Foundation observes that the U.S. "actually performs worse in some common health metrics like life expectancy, infant mortality and unmanaged diabetes."

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