Health expenditure as a percentage of GDP in select countries 2021
Why compare OECD countries?
OECD stands for Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. It is an economic organization consisting of 38 members, mostly high-income countries and committed to democratic principles and market economy. This makes OECD statistics more comparable than statistics of developed and undeveloped countries. Health economics is an important matter for the OECD, even more since increasing health costs and an aging population have become an issue for many developed countries.
Health costs in the U.S.
A higher GDP share spent on health care does not automatically lead to a better functioning health system. In the case of the U.S., high spending is mainly because of higher costs and prices, not due to higher utilization. For example, physicians’ salaries are much higher in the U.S. than in other comparable countries. A doctor in the U.S. earns almost twice as much as the average physician in Germany. Pharmaceutical spending per capita is also distinctly higher in the United States. Furthermore, the U.S. also spends more on health administrative costs compare to other wealthy countries.