US Health Care “Best” in the World — in Per Capita Cost

(noon. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Since the GOP is fond of saying that “the USA has the Best Health Care System in the World”, I decided to do a little Fact Checking. … And according to the World Health Organization:

Health Performance Rank By Country

United States of America:

Performance: On level of health : 72nd

Performance: Overall health system: 37th

Health expenditure per capita in international $’s

Country Rank:  USA: 1st…

We’re Number One! alright — BUT only in terms of HOW MUCH WE PAY PER PERSON, for our Health Care! (1st in the World, in terms of Cost)

That’s sounds like a contest, that we just don’t want to keep winning!

Let’s dispel the myths holding up health care reform — Jul 26, 2009

[Myth:] America has the best health care in the world. Why change?

Actually, the U.S. has the most expensive health care system on the planet, and outcomes here are inferior to those of nearly all other modern nations.

The death rate among newborns here is among the highest of industrialized nations. Americans are more likely to suffer from chronic diseases such as diabetes. A study that rated 19 relatively prosperous nations on their effectiveness in curbing deaths from preventable diseases put the United States at the very bottom.…

Well at least some journalists are are attempting Fact Checking, to try to dispel all the misinformation from the RightWing.

Here’s another recent effort to Report “Just the Facts”:

FACTBOX: Europe’s major health systems and how they work

Matthew Goldstein – Reuters, Aug 19, 2009  

pg 2


Americans spend more per capita on healthcare than any other country at more than $7,400 per person, according to a recent report by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Yet studies suggest Americans overall get poorer care than people in other industrialized countries.

Private insurance pays 35 percent of this; […] and 12 percent is paid out-of-pocket by patients.


The U.S. Census Bureau says 46 million Americans, or 15 percent of the population, have no health insurance.…

12% of $7,400 = $888 per person per year, in the USA — What a privilege to pay SO Much for SO Little!

15% of the population = about 1 in 7 Americans have NO Health Insurance, at all — I’m sure they’re just loving that BEST Health Care System we got, don’t you think?  What are they complaining about — there’s always the E-R.

Yet, even so, the USA seems to be slipping in the more recent cost trends. The Marshall Islands just edged out the USA for 1st. … I guess that must be what the GOP is fighting for — to preserve our 1st placing standing, in this NOT so desirable contest:

Total Health Expenditures as % of GDP 2002 –
SOURCE: The World Health Organization
Rank Location 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
1 Marshall Islands 22 19.1 18.4 16.3 13.2 15.4
2 United States of America 13.2 13.9 14.7 15.1 15.2 15.2
18 Canada 8.8 9.3 9.6 9.8 9.8 9.8
22 Denmark 8.3 8.6 8.8 9.3 9.4 9.4
23 Iceland 9.3 9.2 9.9 10.2 9.9 9.4
24 Netherlands 8.0 8.3 8.9 8.9 9.0 9.2
25 Sweden 8.2 8.6 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.2
26 Norway 8.4 8.8 9.8 10 9.7 9.1
27 Italy 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.3 8.7 8.9
28 New Zealand 8.1 8.3 8.5 8.4 8.5 8.9
29 Australia 8.3 8.4 8.6 8.6 8.8
38 Ireland 6.3 6.9 7.1 7.3 7.5 8.2
39 Japan 7.6 7.9 8.0 8.1 8.0 8.2
40 Spain 7.2 7.2 7.3 7.8 8.1 8.2
41 United Kingdom 7.2 7.5 7.6 7.7 8.0 8.2

Funny how all those big, bad “Socialist” Countries ALL manage to pay a whole lot less of their GDP to stay Healthy, than does the good ole USA. … Year in and Year out. … Hmmmm? They must be doing something right?

Don’t we as a Country have better things to worry about, and to work on, than how we can afford to keep Private Insurance Company profitable, ad nauseum, into the forseeable future?

All the while, remaining near the bottom of the list, in Quality of Care received, for our whopping $888 a year — What a Deal!

The World Health Organization’s ranking of the world’s health systems.

Rank       Country  

1         France

2         Italy

3         San Marino

4         Andorra

5         Malta

6         Singapore

7         Spain

8         Oman

9         Austria

10        Japan

11        Norway

12        Portugal

13        Monaco

14        Greece

15        Iceland

16        Luxembourg

17        Netherlands

18        United  Kingdom

19        Ireland

20        Switzerland

21        Belgium

22        Colombia

23        Sweden

24        Cyprus

25        Germany

26        Saudi Arabia

27        United  Arab  Emirates

28        Israel

29        Morocco

30        Canada

31        Finland

32        Australia

33        Chile

34        Denmark

35        Dominica

36        Costa Rica

37        United States of America

Source: WHO World Health Report

The GOP wants to preserve this “Best” system in the World — best at wasting our hard earn money, in exchange for the least effective care.

Maybe the GOP Obstructionists, and their Blue Dog cohorts, need to check their Lobbyist buddies at the door, and start to look at the Fact that our broken Health Insurance System, is a anvil that is weighing this country down. We cannot reach our full productive potential, lugging around this weight that will only get heavier without some real competetion from an “Extended Medicare Plan” (aka the Public Option).

If we have a right to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness, well then isn’t having a right to quality, affordable Health Care a key ingredient to each one of those foundational goals?


(pssst … the United States ranks 24th, in that contest too.)

All citizens should be able to Choose Health — without some Insurance Denial Specialist getting in the way. … Without the unchecked annual increases in Insurance premiums double or triple, the rate of inflation. Such increases are effectively a “Hidden Tax” or surcharge, bogging down the Economy, if I ever saw one!

As Bill Maher quipped so well on the Rachel Maddow show recently, The only ‘Death Panel’ associated with this Health Care Reform Bill, is the one called the Senate Finance Committee!

LOL, good one Bill!

Rachel Maddow & Bill Maher Talk About Delusional Republicans – 08/18/09…

also posted on dkos


Skip to comment form

    • jamess on August 20, 2009 at 11:27

    finally found a PC,

    and a few spare hours.

    • pico on August 20, 2009 at 11:41

    that’s very reliant on what terms you set, and I think you’ve done a good job showing why, on most scales, we don’t have the best healthcare in the world.

    We actually do have the best healthcare in the world if (and this is a big ‘if’) you can afford it.  We have some of the snazziest, most high-tech, most impressive facilities, some of the world’s most famous doctors and surgeons, etc.  It’s just that very few of us have access to it, and on the average we aren’t number one at all.

  1. I would dispute that 12% of $7,400 amount, though.  From my own experiences (work), I paid a great deal more than that for healthcare insurance, plus all the co-pays and 20% of what was not paid by insurance, plus whatever was paid into Medicare, which did not include dental or vision.

    Seniors, it’s even worse.  Medicare costs about $98.00 per month (no dental or vision), which does not cover the entirety of any bills, so a supplemental insurance is necessitated, which costs around $2,270.00 per year, plus Part D (drugs), which costs about $38.00 per month, plus a $295.00 deductible before anything is paid, and then the drugs are still not fully covered until an out-of-pocket has been met, plus you pay $100.00 for any drug that is not generic.

    These figures are general, but I’m trying to show what it really costs.

    In countries where they have socialized medicine, I think people are generally healthier because they have less stress, in other words, they have health coverage whether they lose their jobs or not, or cannot work, etc.  They take their long, long vacations religiously.  Americans are even afraid to take their vacations nowadays and if they do, they largely only take a couple of days here or there.

    And, in addition, in many of those countries, they retire with 98% of their last working salary.

    Americans derive little, if anything, for all their hard-earned taxpaying dollars.  Instead, we put in money, so the war profiteers can get richer, Wall Street and the banks can get richer, the healthcare industry can get richer, the pharmaceuticals can get richer, etc., while we get poorer and poorer!

    • banger on August 20, 2009 at 22:08

    is designed in. The system operates best, according to the oligarchs, if there is a strong fear of poverty. One of the most notable changes I have seen in our country is the increasing difficulty in living in “genteel poverty”. What I mean by that is doing some meaningful work that doesn’t pay much. Even if you’re wiling to not have much in the way of goods and services basic living expenses including health-care are so expensive that you have to really hustle (unless you have inherited wealth).

    See this video of a talk given by Elizabeth Warren about the trends we are facing.

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