I like to stay well informed about debate-worthy issues, so I’ve been reading up on health policy lately. One statistic that has always struck a cord with me and did so within the first few pages of Health Policy Issues: An Economic Perspective by Paul J. Feldstein is the United States gross domestic product (GDP) spent on healthcare. A quick Google search led me to this article stating that the U.S. spends $8,233 per person each year. For most people, that doesn’t seem like a big deal right? Well, that’s actually more than 2.5 times the expenses of most other developed nations globally.
The U.S. currently spends 17.6% of GDP on healthcare costs. That’s over 17 cents per dollar spent going towards health costs. In comparison, medical services consisted of only 6% of our GDP in 1965. Even more recently, it was only 16% in 2005. Obviously, if this increasing trend continues we could be in trouble.
Although the U.S. is recognized for healthcare excellence, the Organiztion for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has presented some statistics that make the U.S. system seem a little less profound. For example, in comparison to many other nations that are members of the OECD, the United States has less physicians per person, less hospital beds per person, and lower life expediencies than many other nations.
I’m not bashing the United States system and it has obvious benefits as well. As stated in the article, it leads the world in research, as well as cancer treatment. There are many more details discussed within the article so feel free to take a look. I simply wanted to spend a moment to bring to light the rising costs of healthcare in the United States. A quick glance at the chart shown pretty much says it all.