Why do we spend more per capita on health care than most other developed countries? A big part of the answer is unit prices, a factor demonstrated again in the 2012 version of the International Federation of Health Plans comparison of prices report. (IFHP Report) The countries are Canada, Switzerland, the Netherlands, France, England, New Zealand, Australia, Spain, South Africa and Chile. Some examples include for an angiogram, the low price is $35 in Canada, the US is the high with an average of $914, about two and half times the next highest of $378 in Chile. One common CT scan, for the head, ranges from $82 in Argentina to an average of $566 in the US. Hospital cost per day averages $4287 in the US, compared to the low of $429 in Argentina and the next highest cost of $1472 in Australia. A normal delivery is $7262 in the US, not that much higher than Australia at $6846, but much higher than Argentina at $1188 or South Africa at $2035. A knee replacement in the US is an average $25,637, with the cost in Argentina being $3192 and in Spain and the UK about $7800. A routine physician office visit is $10 in Argentina, $30 in Canada, $38 in Chile and $95 in the US. Drugs and diagnostics show a similar pattern. Now these are not adjusted for the overall wealth, purchasing power or inflation of a country, nor are they quality or health status adjusted. US hospital costs could be higher because we actually do a very good job of keeping all but the most intensive cases out of the hospital, which means per case and per day costs will be more. But even if those adjustments were made, it is clear that the US just pays a lot more for the same unit of service.
✅ Subscribe via Email
About this Blog
The Healthy Skeptic is a website about the health care system, and is written by Kevin Roche, who has many years of experience working in the health industry. Mr. Roche is available to assist health care companies through consulting arrangements through Roche Consulting, LLC and may be reached at [email protected].
Healthy Skeptic Podcast
This is an outstanding report on total global drug spending and trends, with projections out to 2025. It helps you understand this important area of health care, which does much...
June 1, 2021
MedPAC 2019 Report to Congress
June 18, 2019
Mercer, a large benefits consulting firm, confirms that health plan premiums are rising in 2023, publishing survey results showing that employers expect an increase of costs by at least 5%....
December 9, 2022
More money pouring into young health care companies as Dispatch Health gains $330 million in new capital to deliver high acuity health care in a patient’s home, rather than a...
November 30, 2022
A lot of money is invested in health care startups and growth companies, since health care is 20% of the economy, but the returns aren’t always good. Here is another...
November 1, 2022
Access ACO Care Management Chronic Disease Comparative Effectiveness Consumer Directed Health Consumers Devices Disease Management Drugs EHRs Elder Care End-of-Life Care FDA Financings Genomics Government Health Care Costs Health Care Quality Health Care Reform Health Insurance Health Insurance Exchange HIT HomeCare Hospital Hospital Readmissions Legislation M&A Malpractice Meaningful Use Medicaid Medical Care Medicare Medicare Advantage Mobile Pay For Performance Pharmaceutical Physicians Providers Regulation Repealing Reform Telehealth Telemedicine Wellness and Prevention Workplace