Health spending in the United States and the rest of the industrialized world

Health Aff (Millwood). 2005 Jul-Aug;24(4):903-14. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.24.4.903.


U.S. citizens spent $5,267 per capita for health care in 2002--53 percent more than any other country. Two possible reasons for the differential are supply constraints that create waiting lists in other countries and the level of malpractice litigation and defensive medicine in the United States. Services that typically have queues in other countries account for only 3 percent of U.S. health spending. The cost of defending U.S. malpractice claims is estimated at $6.5 billion in 2001, only 0.46 percent of total health spending. The two most important reasons for higher U.S. spending appear to be higher incomes and higher medical care prices.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Developed Countries / economics*
  • Developed Countries / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Expenditures / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Expenditures / trends
  • Humans
  • International Cooperation*
  • Liability, Legal / economics
  • Malpractice / economics
  • Malpractice / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United Kingdom
  • United States