Did you know that the United States spends more than any other developed country on health care, however its life expectancy is below average? According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, also known as the OECD, the United States spent $8,745 per capita on health care in 2012. The average for OECD countries spent on health care is $3,484 per capita. Turkey, on the other hand, was the lowest among developed countries, spending only $984 per capita.
Even though the United States spends the most on health care, it has one of the lowest life expectancies among developed countries, which is 78.7 years. 28.6% of Americans report that they are obese, which is the highest rate in the OECD. Why does this happen?
There are two primary reasons why the United States spends more on healthcare than other countries. According to specialists, the first reason is that it is a consequence of the large use of medical technology. Second, overall costs for healthcare products and services are higher.
David Squires, president of the Commonwealth Fund, noted that people in the United States go to the doctor less than in other developed countries. However, they pay much more for the healthcare services they do use.
An interview with David Morgan – analyst at the OECD, and Luca Lorenzoni – health economist, demonstrated that health system in the United States is more complex with all its insurance plans, services, and payment systems. There is a higher percentage of people in the US with no health insurance than in most other developed countries, according to 2015 data from the OECD.
Many of the developed countries have also demonstrated many unhealthy habits, such as smoking and drinking alcohol, which also increases health expenses. It shows that higher health care costs do not essentially mean higher quality of health care or higher life expectancy.
Data from the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies have shown that in the year of 2013 in the U.S. more people died from preventable diseases than in most other developed countries around the world. 112 of 100,000 people who died in the U.S. before age 75, died from illnesses that could have been prevented if timely and successfully treated. Health professionals found that the United States could be improved in its mortality amendable to healthcare, which measures deaths from certain reasons before age 75 that are potentially avoidable with timely and efficient health care.
Another way to indicate the quality of healthcare by health professionals is the number of beds in a hospital. For example, a low number of hospital beds can imply that people have lower access to care. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development description of hospital beds incorporates long term care beds, psychiatric care beds, and other types of beds in hospitals. The Data from the OECD showed that the United States offers 2.83 hospitals beds for every 1,000 people, which makes it one of the lowest numbers of hospital beds per capita among all developed countries.