We Spend How Much on Health Care?

by Joan McCarter –

Here’s your not-so-regular reminder that the American health care system is a complete mess, and the nation’s Republican leadership is so incomprehensibly incapable of dealing with that fact that words describing how bad they are at this don’t really exist. It’s not just that the U.S. spends more than every other high-income country on health care per person—it’s how much more it spends.

As would be expected, wealthy countries like the U.S., tend to spend more per person on health care and related expenses than lower income countries. However, even as a high income country, the U.S. spends more per person on health than comparable countries. Health spending per person in the U.S. was $9,451 in 2015 –  22% higher than Luxembourg, the next highest per capita spender.

See the illuminating graphic below:

Chart showing wealthy countries

That right there demands action. The fact that we are spending nearly $10,000 a year per person and still have upward of 30 million people uninsured—in no small part because of state Republicans’ refusal to expand Medicaid—makes it absolutely imperative. And we’ve still got Republicans trying to undo the only major reform of the system the nation has seen for decades.

The good news is the Affordable Care Act’s reforms have helped move the nation to the point where even doctors are warming up to a single-payer system. The bad news is we’ve got to get rid of Trump, Paul Ryan, and Mitch McConnell to get there.


Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos