Monday, November 2, 2009

International Healthcare Costs Comparison

As Princeton Economist Uwe Reinhardt says "It's the Prices Stupid!"

The U.S. devotes almost 18% of its gross domestic product to health care spending, while other wealthy nations spend no more than 10% or 11%. The U.S. pays more per unit of care than any other country.

This 36-page document was put together by the International Federation of Health Plans, which represents 100 insurers in 31 countries. It consists of a number of charts that show the difference between what the U.S. pays for any number of medical services, and what other industrialized countries pay.

Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein, who first posted the charts, was alerted to them by George Halvorson, CEO of Kaiser Permanent. Halvorson complained that the health care debate rarely touches on the price we pay: "A health-care debate in this country that isn't aware of the price differential is not an informed debate."