An 11-country comparison concludes that the cost of goods (including medications), labor (clinicians’ salaries), and administration drives U.S. healthcare spending above all others’.
Researchers examined healthcare data from 10 other wealthy countries, mostly from 2013–2016. Among the myriad findings reported in JAMA:
- U.S. annual health spending per capita ($9400) was nearly double that of the 11-country average ($5400).
- U.S. generalist physicians’ pay ($218,000) far exceeded that of the average ($134,000).
- Drug spending per capita ($1440) outstripped the average ($750).
- U.S. life expectancy was lowest (78.8 vs. 81.7 years).
The authors point out that commonly cited factors — such as defensive testing and the low ratio of primary care clinicians to specialists — apparently do not explain the greater expense of the U.S. system relative to others’.