Global medical costs -- how the US stacks up

Many Americans complain about health care prices, but is care in the US the most expensive? Here's a look at health costs around the world.

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Sep 9, 2013 7:53PM
Great article, single payer healthcare saves billions in premium dollars world wide and delivers the exacts same or better results. Instead of $8 grand per year we could be getting the same services for $4 grand, by cutting out the middleman who's only goal is to reap your hard earned dollars. How much proof do Americans need before they recognize there's a better, more efficient way of doing things.
Sep 9, 2013 9:07PM

In scrolling through these I noticed three things.  First the U.S. spends the highest dollar amount per capita for health care, second we have the lowest average life span, and third we tend to be the most obese on the main.  Also it was interesting to note that most of the countries mentioned have plans that pay for most if not all of that cost which means that no one should ever go without basic health care.


I think that is perhaps why the numbers of people who are retired and looking overseas for a place to call home is growing.  There are many places around the world where the cost of living is less than half what it is here and medical services are as good as and sometimes better than what is available here in the States.  Frankly we could be facing a kind of reverse emigration as many of our promising young college graduates are having to look in other countries for jobs that used to be here in our own country.  So if the retired and recent grads are both leaving our country that paints a rather grim picture for the future of America I think.


Medical costs are only part of the picture here.  While they are critically important for the elderly the overall cost of living and the availability of job opportunities for the younger folks is just as enticing.  Mind you I was born here and grew up here and I really hate to see what our Congress over the past 30 years has done to our nation.  It is not the America that I grew up in and it certainly is not the America that I hoped to find when I retired.  Frankly I am a bit frightened for my future as I stare down the barrel of the last 15 or 20 years of my earthly existence.  All of the plans that I made and all of the advice that I followed has left me with little to get by on in my later years so now I am contemplating becoming and ex-patriot and moving to a country where I can expect to have a decent life style in my waning years.  It is really sad that I have to face this but it is what it is. 

Sep 10, 2013 7:50AM
Analysis of this article shows that getting sick in America is to many financial ruin.  Drugs, hospital care, surgery, and medical tests will send you to your grave a pauper.  Most can't afford medical insurance.  Capitalistic greed has made the medical profession a low-life institution.  No reason for this.  Our gutless lawmakers could care less.  When the scumbags on Capitol Hill start suffering the same consequences as the rest of us; ONLY THEN WILL SOMETHING BE DONE ABOUT IT.
Sep 10, 2013 10:04AM
U.S. is the only country w/o a universal healthcare system yet..... Oh did you notice it had the highest costs, low share of % gov't funded, not so good of a life expectancy. So yeah, the rest of the world does healthcare better and makes us look like idiots for paying so much, we should take notes and listen.
Sep 10, 2013 2:13AM
Looks like government sponsored healthcare leads to longer life spans and lower costs even for countries with smoking rates twice that of ours.
Sep 9, 2013 10:22PM

You morons don't want Obama care and don't want the government involved in your health care, but you don't have a problem with sending your children to war to get slaughtered in support of there lies and greed!!!!!!!!!!! Health care in this country SUCKS!!!!! Its run by a bunch of drug pushing scum. I want to be able to walk into a hospital or doctors office and get whatever I may need for whatever condition I may have without worrying weather my insurance is going to cover it. You want to spend trillions on war, then give EVERYBODY 100% coverage !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NO EXCEPTIONS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Sep 10, 2013 2:14PM
Let me get this straight:

Our annual medical costs per person in the US are about 100% more than everyone else in the World. 

And what do we get for paying so much more?

Compared to people in Spain and Italy (and most others), we have 35% fewer Doctors per 1000 and die 4 years earlier.

I state this as an undisputable fact - We getting screwed BIG time here in the US by the Medical Community.
Sep 9, 2013 8:35PM

The health care in the US is a joke and has been for years. If you look at the numbers we pay on the average twice as much as most countries and our life expectancy is less. And the other countries listed have more smokers then us. Granted; smoking is bad for you; but it seems like more of an angle for insurance companies to make money the them giving a damn about anyone.


Another thing they should look at: student loans. I will bet you ; before the numbers every show up that some of the BIGGEST offenders (do not pay) are in health care, lawyers, and politicians. Any takers?


And as far as doctors that do not except Medicare; revoke their license and send them all to China. The public supports them for years by paying for student loans, getting their practices established, and giving them a life style that is better then most of the folks they PRACTICE on.

Sep 10, 2013 12:40PM

I've been a "data" professional all my working life (30+ years).  If you pick and choose data that supports your slant on an issue, the numbers can look great.  But it is not the whole story.  All I can say is that I'd need a lot more data than this to draw any real conclusions.  With this data - it looks like we should smoke more, eat less, hire doctors, fire nurses, and make the government pay more -- and then we will live for 4 more years. If the government pays more, then we taxpayers pay more.  Not the whole story.  Additional data that I'd like to see...


Per capita cost in taxes to pay for publicly funded health care

Average cost of malpractice insurance per doctor

Average payout in healthcare related law suits

Average costs for common tests and procedures

Average doctor/Nurse salary

Average cost of an overnight say in a hospital

Average cost of common prescription meds

Average wait times for common procedures

Customer satisfaction with health care system - overall

Customer satisfaction with quality of care

Customer satisfaction with cost of care

Customer satisfaction concerning wait times

Customer satisfaction regarding uncovered procedures


Our health care system is screwed up.  We pay way too much and I'm sure somebody is making lots of money.  But I'm not sure Obamacare is the answer, either.  I've been hoping to see the Republican alternative to Obamacare - but 'repeal it' is pretty much the only solution they've come up with.  It would be nice if our elected officials could lay politics and agendas aside and work out a deal that is satisfactory for conservatives and liberals.  Something better than what we've got and where we are currently going to.


Sep 10, 2013 9:35AM
For all those people puking "we are living longer" read this article carefully.  Only Mexico has a life expectancy less than that of the US.  All ohter countries listed other than the US and Mexcio have a life expectancy of 80 or above!!  I wish Medicare and medicaid could be trashed and a universal, tax paid health program be put in its place. I think it would be better and less expensive.
Sep 10, 2013 12:59PM
US is higher because all the fraud and rippoffs and milking it for as many dollars as they can. And no one to stop it. Its worse than the oil industry. Why do they charge more? Because they can and get away with it.
Sep 9, 2013 10:37PM

OH YEAH and you want to continue to pay a 1000% markup on your drugs that cause more problems than you already have. WOW that's smart !!!!  OH that's right its the price of freedumb, SLAVERY is what it is !!!!

Sep 12, 2013 3:19AM
No doubt our healthcare costs are outrageous. We pay thousands of dollars just for an MRI or a CT scan. Not to mention Doctors often get $200 plus for a 20 minute or less guessing game. If you ask for testing they squabble on about the insurance (government included) not paying. Our healthcare is a joke. We might as well draw straws to decide what the problem is and how much we are going to pay.
Sep 10, 2013 1:09PM
The cost per person in all these countries are 1/3rd to 1/2 ours because under single payer you can set prices and profit. Doctors don't make $750,000 a year or more and drug companies can't charge $30,000 per patient per month. We might have some of the best hospitals and Doctors in the world but the low life expectancy shows few can afford even close to the best.
Sep 10, 2013 9:43AM

Regarding us living longer, have seen other cultures living a robust 80-90 yo possiby due to a diet devoid of preservatives while rife with fresh harvested foods. However, due to medicinal constraints, "common" illnesses can bring death.


We can have it both ways. Eat better, live healthier longer or eat as we do and live longer strapped to a machine, beholden to pills, becoming a human ATM for our pharmaceutical friends.



Sep 10, 2013 9:21AM

The medical and insurance industries are in cahoots.  High medical costs justify the high cost of health insurance.  We have reached the point that insurance costs so much that Uncle Sam feels it has to criminalize not buying insurance to make people buy it.

Make that govt secretly in cahoots with the medical and insurance industries, even if none of them know they are allies. 

Sep 9, 2013 9:56PM
the world enjoys the fruits of research done by US. The US health care industry funds the R and D .
If all the CEOs of the 5815 hospitals made $2,000,000 per year cost 11 billion for CEOs
I know they dont make that kind of money. So why does it cost $11 for a box of tissues??
The whole system is corrupt and toooo complex (have you ever looked at a bill)

Problem here is very simple and twofold
1 the whole me me me attitude (not caring about person after you in line that is worse off than u)
2 expectations are way to high (how many 3-4 lb  babies are given EVERY sort of treatment to survive here) 
Sep 9, 2013 9:15PM

At one time the Medical profession in America was a service based profession, like it is in many other countries.


One way America could reduce Medial cost is put a throttle on the lawyers who have placed unreal value on life.


An example would be the average age in America is 78.  The award should be based on the average persons lifetime earning potential or capped at say 78 Million. If the patient is less than a year old the max could be up to 78 Million depending on the circumstances.  If 70 years old then between 70 & 78 again depending on the circumstances. 


But this will never happen because individual Americans and American lawyers are too greedy.

Sep 12, 2013 4:01AM
It is a well-documented fact that the USA is the sickest, fattest, shortest-living industrialized nation in the world and that Americans pay more than anywhere else in the world. 

The wool comes over your eyes and down to your ankles. 

American people are overfed, doped up on antibodies, hormones, and prescription drugs, and have been mentally castrated by ridiculously pointless entertainers and "reality stars." 
Yet, every election year you talk about the same things. Abortion, immigration, gay rights. 

The saddest part is that Americans, who used to stand for freedom, liberty, and justice, are now too pacified and apathetic to care enough to fight for change. 

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