US spends twice as much as other wealthy countries on health care

US spends twice as much as other wealthy countries on health care
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The United States spent twice as much on health care than ten other high-income countries in 2016, largely because of the high costs of prescription drugs, administrative overhead and labor, a new study released Tuesday indicates. 

While Americans don't use more services than people in high-income countries, the U.S.'s overall health spending still topped that of the United Kingdom, Canada and Germany, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. 

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The U.S. spent nearly 18 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on health care in 2016.

Spending in other countries ranged from 9.6 percent of Australia's GDP to 12.4 percent of Switzerland's GDP. 

In the U.S., high health-care spending is driven by expensive prescription drugs, high-paid health professionals and administrative costs. 

Spending per capita for prescription drugs was $1,443 in the U.S., compared to a range of $466 to $939 in other countries, the study found. 

Doctors in the U.S. are also paid much more compared to other countries. 

Researchers found that general physicians can expect to make about $218,000 in the U.S., compared to a range of $86,600 to $154,000 in other countries.  

Administrative costs on health care consume 8 percent of the U.S.'s GDP, compared to a range of 1 percent to 3 percent in other countries. 

High health-care spending in the U.S. does not translate to better health outcomes, the report found. 

Life expectancy in the U.S. is 78.8 years, compared to the average of 81.7 years among the countries studied. 

Infant mortality was higher in the U.S. than the other countries, with 5.8 deaths per 1,000 live births in the U.S. and 3.6 deaths per 1,000 live births in all 11 countries.

The U.S. also has more uninsured citizens than any of the countries examined, with about 10 percent of Americans lacking insurance coverage.