- Health care spending towers over other major industrial countries. In 2008, hospital spending per discharge in the U.S. dwarfed all major industrial countries at $16,708. This is nearly triple the median of $5,949 according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). This analysis concentrated on 2010 OECD health data for Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. including the supply, utilization, and price of diagnostic imaging. The country with the second-highest spending, Canada, spent only 75 percent as much per discharge ($12,669), and in both Germany and France, hospital stays were nearly one-quarter as expensive ($4,566 and $4,762, respectively.
This enormous difference in spending occurs despite the fact that the U.S. has fewer hospital beds and physicians, and sees fewer hospital and physician visits than in most other countries. Prescription drug utilization, prices, and spending all appear to be highest in the U.S. OECD tracks and reports on more than 1,200 health system measures across 34 industrialized countries. U.S. performance on other measures is variable. We ranking highly on five-year cancer survival, fair on in-hospital case-specific mortality, and poorly on hospital admissions for chronic conditions and amputations due to diabetes.
Shocking, isn’t it? Stay tuned.