Thursday, January 30, 2014

Fascinating interactive infographic on international health care spending gap

It’s not news that the US spends far more per person on health care than other high-income countries (and we get less for that spending, but that’s another blog), but an interactive infographic  from the New England Journal of Medicine breaks it down by year and category of spending. Like the best cool graphics, this one carries a lot of interesting content. The US is an outlier in all categories but we have some limited competition for the biggest spender in a few categories, including Canada for public health service spending per person (we are a bit higher). The worst gaps between the US and the rest of the world are in total spending and private insurance spending (no surprise). Most countries spend more on either government or private/out-of-pocket spending (depending on their model) but we are the highest spender on both. The worst trending gap between the US and the rest of the world is in health administration and insurance – we are not only the highest spender but also growing faster than anyone else.  Comparisons are in Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) $ US which controls for the value in goods and services between countries. Graphics like this give hope that we can fix our system – there is clearly enough money being spent.