Sleeping Newborn

Overpriced American Healthcare: Some Simple Charts

You’ve heard it over and over. Overpriced American healthcare is devouring our budgets. But just how overpriced is American healthcare? A new report from the International Federation of Health Plans (IFHP) gives us a pretty clear picture. IFHP represents the largest health insurance plans in America and all over the world, so they keep a pretty close watch on what healthcare costs.

IFHP - Normal Delivery

Source: IFHP 2012 Comparative Price Report

Let’s start with something simple that everyone experiences, one way or another. A normal childbirth costs on average $9,775 in the U.S., just shy of four times what it costs in the U.K.

IFHP - Routine Office Visit

Source: IFHP 2012 Comparative Price Report

Next, take a look at something more mundane, a routine office visit with your physician. In the U.S., the average cost is $95, about three times the cost in France or Canada. Note that separate physician charges are not available for some countries, like the U.K., so they don’t figure into this chart.

IFHP - Bypass Surgery

Source: IFHP 2012 Comparative Price Report

Finally, we look at something a little more serious, coronary bypass surgery. U.S costs, at an average of $73,420 in 2012 were more than five times the cost in the U.K.

IFHP - Health Spending Percent of GDP

Source: IFHP 2012 Comparative Price Report

The full IFHP report has many more charts, but you get the picture. All of this adds up to spending on healthcare as a percent of GDP that is almost double what other developed countries spend. That wouldn’t be so bad if we got twice as much health for our money. But we don’t. We get less. On most major measures of health outcomes, the U.S. fares poorly in the rankings. Infant mortality? The U.S. has higher 2012 rates than 50 other countries, according to the CIA World Factbook.

It’s enough to make you cry.

Click here to read access the full report from IFHP, click here to read more in Healthcare Finance News, and click here to read more in the Washington Post.

Sleeping Newborn, image © Andrés Nieto Porras / Wikimedia

Subscribe by email to follow the accumulating evidence and observations that shape our view of health, obesity, and policy.