Monday, 3 September 2012

Health Care Cost Comparison

Since health care is going to be a big topic in the 2012 U.S. Presidential election, and since I've had several discussions about health care with friends over the years, it's probably a good idea to round up some data.

Fortunately, we have the CIA World Factbook, which lists all sorts of demographic information, including health care cost as a percentage of GDP, life expectancy, infant mortality rates, etc., for every country in the world.

On this page I've listed relevant data from every country that has a GDP of $1 trillion ($ 1012) or more. I've even made it sortable: click on a column, and you can arrange it in ascending or descending order. The highlighted column headers give popup notes on what's in each column.

So, for example, if you click on Annual Health Care Cost per Person until the up arrow shows, you'll find that the United States leads the pack with a whopping $7,938/person in health care costs per year.

If, on the other hand, you click on Life Expectancy, you'll see that this lands us in ninth place, over five years behind Japan.

I'll let you draw your own conclusions, but it seems to me that our health care is horribly overpriced.

And I'm not going to hype any particular solution. Maybe a form of Romney's Massachusetts health plan, or Obama's modification of it on the national scale, will work. Maybe privatization of the whole system, including Medicare and Medicaid, will work.

I'll just point out that in the U.S. we have a life expectancy of 78.5 years, at a cost of $7,938/year. In the United Kingdom, life expectancy is 80.1 years, and they pay $3,404/year, according to the CIA. And we all know about the setup of the British Health Service.

World Healthcare Costs

Click on a column to sort

For data on nearly every nation in the world, see

Infant Mortality
per 1,000
live births

This is what the CIA defines as purchasing power parity GDP, i.e., actual purchasing power in dollars, not the legal exchange rate.

GDP (M$)
This is just population times GDP per capita. Since that's the purchasing power parity GDP, this won't be exactly equal to published results, set, e.g. China.

Health Care
of GDP

Health Care

This is just GDP per capita times the Fraction of the GDP consumed by health care. Approximate, to be sure, but probably within 10-20% of actual cost.

per Person
Korea, South48,860,50079.304.08$32,100$1,568,4226.50%$2,086
United Kingdom63,047,16280.174.56$36,600$2,307,5269.30%$3,404
United States313,847,46578.495.98$49,000$15,378,52616.20%$7,938

This really being a notebook on how to do things with computers, here are the tricks I used:

No comments:

Post a comment