United States spends twice as much as other wealthy countries on health care

Healthcare in US costs 2x as much as other rich nations

Huge cost of US healthcare driven by drugs prices and salaries

In 2016, the USA spent almost twice as much as other high-income countries on healthcare, yet had poorer population health outcomes. In the U.S., the average salary was $218,173.

The study by researchers at Harvard University and the London School of Economics disputes the long-held belief USA costs are high because patients see doctors too often or otherwise abuse the healthcare system.

A recent report tells about these high health care expenses for which the American spending more.

Other causes of unneeded spending are the overuse of expensive health services, low social spending, and the lack of an adequate number of primary health physicians.

"As the U.S. continues to struggle with high healthcare spending, it is critical that we make progress on curtailing these costs", said first author Irene Papanicolas, visiting assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Harvard.

The study will be published March 13, 2018 in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association). In the U.S., per capita spending was $1,443.

Senior author Dr Ashish Jha, professor of Global Health at Harvard University, said it's well known that the USA spend way more than peer nations to deliver care, but the common beliefs as to why these costs are so high - too many doctor visits, hospitalizations and procedures - aren't accurate.

"In addition, the reasons for these substantially higher costs have been misunderstood: These data suggest that numerous policy efforts in the USA have not been truly evidence-based".

To find more about the study Woskie with her team worked on the data comparing U.S. healthcare with the 10 leading countries which include, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, Japan, Sweden, France, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Denmark.

Per capita spending on pharmaceuticals was $1,443 in the US, far higher than the range of $466 to $939 in the other countries studied. The United States spent 17.8% of its gross domestic product in 2016 on healthcare.

The U.S. also has more uninsured citizens than any of the countries examined, with about 10 percent of Americans lacking insurance coverage. 'However, there are many different beliefs as to why this is the case'. It says that the United State doesn't use health care than high-income countries like Germany, Canada, France and Japan. Yet, we found that the USA has comparable rates of utilization overall, with lower numbers of physician visits and hospitalizations, ' Dr Jha said.

Although this is true - USA spends a little less on social services than their peers - investigators claim that this is not responsible for the rising health care costs.

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Belief: The U.S. spends too little on social services and this may contribute to higher healthcare costs among certain populations.

'While the U.S. does spend a bit less on social services, it is not an outlier, spending more than countries like Canada, ' Dr Jha said.

Doctors' pay was also much more, with the average salary for a general practice physician in the USA at $218,173, compared to other countries where the range was $86,607-$154,126.

Infant mortality in the US was the highest of any country in the study.

Instead, high prices for labor and goods, including drugs, procedures and administrative services, seemed to be the major reasons, according to the analysis. The U.S. also had the lowest health-adjusted life expectancy, or the average length of time a person lives in good health: 69 years, compared to a mean of 72 years in the other areas.

Doctors and nurses made more money in the USA than in the other countries, with nonspecialist physicians getting salaries of about $218,000, compared to an average of about $123,000 for eight other countries in the study.

For example, the average salary for a general practice physician in the other countries was between $86,607 and $154,126.

"As the USA continues to struggle with high healthcare spending, it is critical that we make progress on curtailing these costs".

"International comparisons are very valuable".

Liana Woskie, assistant director of the Harvard Global Health Institute's strategic initiative on quality, was a co-author of the study.

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People in the USA shell out $9,403 a year on health care services, while wealthy nations like Germany spend on average a little more $5,000.

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