U.S. spends $7,960 a person on healthcare

May 4, 2012 at 6:17 PM
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NEW YORK, May 4 (UPI) -- The United States spends the most -- $7,960 per person -- on healthcare annually than any other nation in the world, a non-profit group said.

David Squires, of the Commonwealth Fund, a non-profit group that supports independent research on healthcare issues, compared healthcare spending, supply, utilization, prices and quality in 13 industrialized countries.

Squires used data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development for Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Britain and the United States.

The analysis found the United States spends more than all other countries on healthcare but this higher spending cannot be attributed to higher income, an aging population or greater supply or utilization of hospitals and doctors, Squires said.

Instead, it is more likely that higher spending is largely due to higher prices and perhaps more readily accessible technology and greater obesity, the study said.

The other study countries spent between one-third -- Japan and New Zealand -- and two-thirds -- Switzerland and Norway -- as much as the United States.

Despite being more expensive, the quality of U.S. healthcare appears to be variable, with better-than-average cancer survival rates, middling in-hospital mortality rates for heart attacks and stroke and the worst rates of presumably preventable deaths due to asthma and amputations due to diabetes compared with the other study countries.

Japan controls costs primarily through aggressive price regulation, Squires said.

Japan leads the world in life expectancy of 82.6 years. The United States, where the life expectancy is 78.2 years, ranks 38th in the world in life expectancy, the CIA World Factbook said.

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