America’s Healthcare Problem

The United States has one of the most expensive health care system in the world, but remains outperformed by most of other developed countries in terms of health benefits.

In 2010, the United States spent $2.6 trillion or more than $8,000 per person on health care, which represents 17.6 percent of the country’s GDP. Other developed countries, most of them having a universal health system, only spent between 9 to 12 percent of their GDP on health care.

Do Americans benefit from better services than their counterparts for paying more? According to the National Academy of Sciences, Americans are at a disadvantage compared to citizens of other developed countries.

Americans die more often and younger than all the other developed countries included in the study. In terms of infant mortality, defined as the death of a child between birth and the age of one, the U.S. is ranked fifty in the world, nine ranks bellow Cuba.

However, the U.S. leads when it comes to obesity rates (33.8 percent vs. 16.9 percent average in other developed countries), diabetes rates, HIV (second highest), heart disease (second highest), alcohol, and drug abuse.

What can explain the disparity between higher costs and lower results?

The following infographic, provided by Best Master of Science in Nursing, gives a number of leads:

  • The U.S. health care system: a large portion of Americans are uninsured compared to other countries. Health care is also much less affordable.
  • Health behavior of Americans: U.S. citizens’ habits toward food, firearms, drugs, and alcohol are partly to blame.
  • The U.S. social and economic environment: income inequality and poverty rates, especially child poverty, are much higher in the U.S. than in other developed countries.

What other reasons can explain the costs of healthcare in America? 

America Healthcare problem
Credit: Best Master of Science in Nursing