Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

U.S. Still Spends More On Health Care Than Any Other Country

Date:
July 12, 2005
Source:
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
Summary:
Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that the United States continues to spend significantly more on health care than any country in the world. They also found that supply constraints and malpractice litigation could not explain the difference in health care costs.

The United States continues to spend significantly more on health care than any country in the world. In 2005, Americans spent 53 percent per capita more than the next highest country, Switzerland, and 140 percent above the median industrialized country, according to new research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The study authors analyzed whether two possible reasons—supply constraints and malpractice litigation—could explain the difference in health care costs. They found that neither factor accounted for a large portion of the U.S. spending differential. The study is featured in the July/August 2005 issue of the journal Health Affairs.

“It is commonly believed that waiting lists in other countries and malpractice litigation in the United States are major reasons why the United States spends so much more on health care than other countries. We found that they only explain a small part of the difference,” said Gerard Anderson, PhD, lead author of the study and a professor in the Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Department of Health Policy and Management.

The study authors reviewed health care spending data on 30 countries from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) for the year 2003. U.S. citizens spent $5,267 per capita on health care. The country with the next highest per capita expenditure, Switzerland, spent $3,446 per capita. The median OECD country spent $2,193 per capita.

One of the commonly cited reasons why U.S. citizens spend more on health care than other countries is that these other countries have waiting lists, especially for elective surgery.The procedures with waiting lists in these other countries, however, represent only 3 percent of spending and therefore cannot explain much of the cost differential.

Another perceived cause of higher health care costs in the United States is that malpractice suits increase the prices charged by doctors and cause them to practice defensive medicine, which occurs when doctors order extra tests or procedures to reduce their risk of being sued. The researchers compared the number of malpractice claims and awards in the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom and found that while U.S. citizens sue more often, the actual settlements from all four countries were comparable.

According to the study authors, defensive medicine probably contributes more to higher health spending than malpractice premiums, but determining which tests and second opinions should be defined as defensive medicine is less clear. The highest estimate for costs of defensive medicine in the United States is only 9 percent and many experts believe this number is too high.

“We can’t blame the United States’ higher health care costs on limiting procedures in other countries or the elevated number of law suits filed in the United States,” said Peter S. Hussey, PhD, co-author of the study and a recent graduate of the Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Department of Health Policy and Management.

“As in previous years, it comes back to the fact that we are paying much higher prices for health care goods and services in the United States. Paying more is okay if our outcomes were better than other countries. But we are paying more for comparable outcomes,” said Anderson, who is also the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Hospital Finance and Management.

In 2004, Anderson and Hussey also co-authored, along with Uwe E. Reinhardt, PhD, of Princeton University, a similar comparison for Heath Affairs. It was the most-viewed study in the journal’s end-of-year review.

“Health Spending in the United States and the Rest of the Industrialized World” was supported by a grant from the Commonwealth Fund.

Additional authors of the study were Bianca K. Frogner and Hugh R. Waters.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. "U.S. Still Spends More On Health Care Than Any Other Country." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 July 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050712140821.htm>.
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. (2005, July 12). U.S. Still Spends More On Health Care Than Any Other Country. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050712140821.htm
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. "U.S. Still Spends More On Health Care Than Any Other Country." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050712140821.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) The World Health Organization has declared Nigeria free of Ebola. Health experts credit a bit of luck and the government's initial response. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) An ingredient in erectile-dysfunction medications such as Viagra could improve heart function. Perhaps not surprising, given Viagra's history. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 20, 2014) Forty-three people who had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., were cleared overnight of twice-daily monitoring after 21 days of showing no symptoms. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Calls for New Ebola Safety Guidelines

CDC Calls for New Ebola Safety Guidelines

AP (Oct. 20, 2014) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Tom Frieden laid out new guidelines for health care workers when dealing with the deadly Ebola virus including new precautions when taking off personal protective equipment. (Oct. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins