When it comes to healthcare spending, America is pulling away from the rest of the industrialized world--and fast. While most Western European nations have seen only a slight uptick in healthcare inflation over the past two decades, U.S. spending has swelled to about 13% of gross domestic product.
In actual dollar figures, the United States spends twice as much per capita as many other nations with advanced healthcare systems--and puts twice the burden on the private sector to pay the bills.
Despite the expense, Americans are not necessarily buying healthier lives. Healthy life expectancy at birth in the U.S. was 67.6 years in 2001, according to World Health Organization statistics, far behind the 73.6 average in Japan and 71.6 in Australia, and only slightly higher than the 66.6 years expectancy for the average Cuban or Czech born in 2001.
Meanwhile, the U.S. infant mortality remains high relative to other industrialized countries.
Click here to see a PDF file of the By the Numbers chart for April 2003.