US continues to spend much more on health care than other countries, driven by prices of physician and hospital services, pharmaceuticals

March 13, 2018

Bottom Line: The United States spent nearly twice as much as other high-income countries on medical care but did less well on many population health outcomes despite similar utilization. Spending differences were driven primarily by prices for labor and goods, including pharmaceuticals, devices and administrative costs.

Why The Research Is Interesting: It is well known that the United States spends more on health care than other countries but less is understood about what explains those differences.

What and When: Analysis of data from 2013-2016 comparing differences in health care spending, performance and structural features between the United States and 10 high-income countries (United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Australia, Japan, Sweden, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Denmark).

Authors: Irene Papanicolas, Ph.D., Harvard T.H.Chan School of Public Health, Boston and coauthors

Results

The United States:Study Limitations: While the data were generally comparable, there were modest differences in approaches to collecting and standardizing data across countries.

Study Conclusions: Efforts targeting health care usage alone are unlikely to reduce growth in health care spending in the United States, and a more concerted effort to reduce prices and administrative costs is likely needed.

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The following editorials and Viewpoint:
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For more details and to read the full study, please visit the For The Media website.

(doi:10.1001/jama.2018.1150)

Editor's Note: Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

Want to embed a link to this report in your story? Link will be live at the embargo time http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/10.1001/jama.2018.1150

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