Team McCallum

R&D for Lifetime of Life

US health lags further.

Between 1975 and 2005, US spending on health per person per year increased dramatically, producing improvements in the chances of living for a further 15 years for a higher percentage of the population. But other comparable countries of the world increased spending per person less than the US, while at the same time producing bigger gains in health, leaving the US lagging even farther behind.

Professors Peter A Muennig and Sherry A Glied compared the US to 12 other countries and rejected possible reasons for this, including smoking, obesity, traffic fatalities, firearm deaths and racial mix, one by one.

For example, Australia has a very similar smoking and obesity profile. In 1975 Australian spend per person was close to the US spend, whereas in 2005, it was only about half of the US spend. Yet Australia produced much bigger gains and Australians have a much better chance of surviving the next 15 years than US citizens.

The 12 comparison countries were picked on the basis that they were reasonably large and had a national income per person of at 60% of that in the US. The 12 were Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.

The authors concluded “We speculate that the nature of our health care system—specifically, its reliance on unregulated fee-for-service and specialty care—may explain both the increased spending and the relative deterioration in survival that we observed. If so, meaningful reform may not only save money over the long term, it may also save lives.”


October 8, 2010 - Posted by | Aging, Australia, Canada, Germany, Health, Japan, Success, The Netherlands, UK, United States

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