Friday, March 28, 2008

Health Care in the USA

This chart filched from Paul Krugman represents the percentage of GDP spent on health care in 1970 and then in 2004 by the US, Canada, Germany, and the UK.

We win! USA! USA! USA!

Here are some more statistics on the same five nations from the World Health Organization.

USA:
Gross national income per capita (PPP international $): 41,950
Life expectancy at birth m/f (years): 75/80
Healthy life expectancy at birth m/f (years, 2002): 67/71
Probability of dying under five (per 1 000 live births): 8
Probability of dying between 15 and 60 years m/f (per 1 000 population): 137/81
Total expenditure on health per capita (Intl $, 2004): 6,096
Total expenditure on health as % of GDP (2004): 15.4

Canada:
Gross national income per capita (PPP international $): 32,220
Life expectancy at birth m/f (years): 78/83
Healthy life expectancy at birth m/f (years, 2002): 70/74
Probability of dying under five (per 1 000 live births): 6
Probability of dying between 15 and 60 years m/f (per 1 000 population): 90/56
Total expenditure on health per capita (Intl $, 2004): 3,173
Total expenditure on health as % of GDP (2004): 9.8

Germany:
Gross national income per capita (PPP international $): 29,210
Life expectancy at birth m/f (years): 76/82
Healthy life expectancy at birth m/f (years, 2002): 70/74
Probability of dying under five (per 1 000 live births): 5
Probability of dying between 15 and 60 years m/f (per 1 000 population): 110/57
Total expenditure on health per capita (Intl $, 2004): 3,171
Total expenditure on health as % of GDP (2004): 10.6

United Kingdom:
Gross national income per capita (PPP international $): 32,690
Life expectancy at birth m/f (years): 77/81
Healthy life expectancy at birth m/f (years, 2002): 69/72
Probability of dying under five (per 1 000 live births): 6
Probability of dying between 15 and 60 years m/f (per 1 000 population): 101/62
Total expenditure on health per capita (Intl $, 2004): 2,560
Total expenditure on health as % of GDP (2004): 8.1

We in the USA spend a lot more and get poorer results for it. But who knows? Maybe the approach we've tried just needs to be continued a little longer and more intensely. Maybe we here in the USA can eventually pester enough people to stop eating fast food, stop smoking, eat a lot of fruit, wring every available dime out of the court system, and haggle with health care professionals over treatments and diagnoses. Maybe doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the soul of good sense and wise public policy.

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