International Health Care Statistics

Color Coding Key
GREEN Ranked 1st for statistic
RED Ranked last for statistic

The health care page compares each country’s health system noting that the United States has one of the world’s worst health systems according to the World Health Organization yet spends the most money among the nations compared.

  Health care as a percent of GDP
  Public Private Public + private Spending per capita Universal Health Coverage Negative public opinion Physician density Decommodification Index score
Australia 5.8 2.7 8.5 1,152 yes 18% 3.85 20
Canada 7.4 3.2 10.7 1,347 yes 12% 2.07 40
Denmark 8.9 1.6 10.5 654 yes 34   40
France 8.7 2.6 11.2 905 yes   3.38 39.8
Germany 8.4 2.5 11.0 1,001 yes 27% 3.69 27.6
Italy 7.0 1.7 8.7 576 yes   3.80 40
Japan 7.8 1.7 9.5 575 yes   2.14 20
Netherlands 9.9 1.7 11.6 714 yes 9%   28.8
Norway 7.7 1.3 9.0 846 yes     60
Sweden 7.3 1.6 8.9 681 yes   3.87 50
United Kingdom     9.1   yes 15% 2.77 60
United States 8.3 8.7 17.0 4,189 no 34% 2.42 9

Sources:

View OECD health statisticsView Graphical Data

Health care as a percent of GDP for most recent year, 2010-12.

Spending per capita View Graphical Data

Spending per capita for most recent year, 2010-12. In US $ and is adjusted for Purchasing Power Parity (PPP).

Universal health coverage:

  1. New York Times editorial, "World's Best Medical Care?", Aug. 12, 2007, World Health Organization and Commonwealth Fund report/ Covers insurance, access, fairness, status, quality, disease outcomes, patient satisfaction, and information technology.
  2. "Two of five (41%) working-age Americans with incomes between $20,000 and $40,000 a year were uninsured for at least part of the past year-a dramatic and rapid increase from 2001 when just over one-quarter (28%) of those with moderate incomes were uninsured...."
    "The vast majority of the uninsured are in working families: of the estimated 48 million working-age Americans uninsured during the year, 67 percent were in families where at least one person was working full time."
    "Gaps in Health Insurance: An All-American Problem," Commonwealth Fund, April 2006
  3. In 2007 about 47 million Americans had no health insurance.
    Haider Rizvi, "Maternal mortality shames superpower US," Inter Press Service, 10/2007.
  4. "We, unlike any other country, have 46 million people who are uninsured...."
    Ken Thorpe, Professor of Health Policy, Emory University, quoted by Victoria Colliver, S.F. Chronicle, July 10, 2007
  5. "...45 million Americans lack health insurance, while Canada and many European countries have universal health care...."
    Stephen Ohlemacher, "U.S. lags behind 41 other nations in life expectancy," San Francisco Chronicle, 8/12/2007

View Health Affairs articleView Graphical Data

Health Affairs, "International Survey: U.S. adults most likely to report medical errors and skip needed care due to cost." News release, Nov. 1, 2007. Percent calling for "rebuild completely" the health care system. Survey of 12,000 adults in 7 countries (7th: New Zealand, 17%). The report has additional data on cost problems and on fragmented and inefficient care.

View WHO statisticsView Graphical Data

World Health Organization. Physician density per 1,000 people, for most recent year, 2009-12.

View Bambra and Backfield reportView Graphical Data

"Health care decommodification is 'the extent to which an individual's access to health care is dependent upon their market position and the extent to which a country's provision of health care is independent from the market.'" For 2012.

Notes:

"How Many Die From Medical Mistakes in U.S. Hospitals?" Marshall Allen

September 19, 2013. New estimates in a report from the Journal of Patient Safety say that 200,000-400,000 patients die every year from medical care mistakes in United States hospitals. If estimates are correct, medical errors would be the third leading cause of death in the United States.

The Commonwealth Fund: November 3rd, 2005

"One-third (34 percent) of U.S. survey participants reported at least one of four types of errors: they believed they experienced a medical mistake in treatment or care, were given the wrong medication or dose, were given incorrect results for a test, or experienced delays in being notified about abnormal test results.

Three of ten (30 percent) Canadian respondents reported at least one of these errors, as did one-fifth or more of patients in Australia (27%), New Zealand (25%), Germany (23%) and the United Kingdom (22%)."

The Commonwealth Fund, May 2007

"Mirror on the Wall: An International Update on the Comparative Performance of American Health Care," K. Davis, C. Schoen, S. C. Schoenbaum, M. M. Doty, A. L. Holmgren, J. L. Kriss, and K. K. Shea, Mirror.

"Despite having the most costly health system in the world, the United States consistently underperforms on most dimensions of performance, relative to other countries. This report-an update to two earlier editions-includes data from surveys of patients, as well as information from primary care physicians about their medical practices and views of their countries' health systems. Compared with five other nations-Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, the United Kingdom-the U.S. health care system ranks last or next-to-last on five dimensions of a high performance health system: quality, access, efficiency, equity, and healthy lives. The U.S. is the only country in the study without universal health insurance coverage, partly accounting for its poor performance on access, equity, and health outcomes. The inclusion of physician survey data also shows the U.S. lagging in adoption of information technology and use of nurses to improve care coordination for the chronically ill."

The US also ranked last in 2004 and 2006.

"We spend far more, but our health care is falling behind," Victoria Colliver

July 10, 2007, San Francisco Chronicle. U.S. spends more per capita yet has more medical errors.

Needed:

Number uninsured or uncovered; number below poverty line not covered

Administrative costs as a percent of health care costs.

Cost of pharmaceutical drugs

Preventive care

Care for chronic diseases

Some technology and research indicator, where the US seems to be way ahead.