Report: U.S. healthcare costs growing faster than elsewhere

Healthcare spending is rising more quickly in the United States than in many other industrialized countries, says a new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation, further widening an already substantial gap.

U.S. healthcare spending per person increased by 60 percent between 2000 and 2008, according to the analysis of OECD data, to a record $7,538 — almost double the OECD average. Six other countries had equal or higher average annual growth rates over that period, but the U.S. is still far ahead of other countries because of its higher starting point.

The trend holds true for healthcare spending as a share of the economy. Between 1980 and 2008, U.S. healthcare spending increased from 9 percent of GDP to 16 percent. The next largest spender as a share of the economy is France, at 11.2 percent.

Experts widely agree the United States isn't getting good value for its higher spending, as it lags behind many countries on key indicators such as infant mortality and life expectancy.

"Faced with expanding public deficits, and growing health care costs, American policy makers may elect to examine the tools employed by other countries to rein in costs," the report suggests. "The growing difference between America's spending and other developed countries may encourage an examination of what people in the U.S. are getting for their healthcare dollar."