National Geographic : 2010 Jan
ABOVE AVERAGE BELOW AVERAGE 79.2 $2,986 United States Switzerland Luxembourg Canada Austria France Denmark Sweden Australia U.K. Finland Spain Japan New Zealand Portugal South Korea Czech Republic Slovak Republic Hungary Poland Mexico 80 75 $7,290 $4,417 4,162 3,895 3,763 3,601 3,512 3,323 3,137 2,992 2,840 2,671 2,581 2,510 2,150 1,688 1,626 1,555 1,388 1,035 823 048 12+ Health care spending per person in U.S. dollars , Average number of doctor visits a year Average life expectancy at birth Nation without universal health coverage Nation with universal health coverage provided by public and private insurers ALL 30 OECD COUNTRIES NOT SHOWN GRAPHIC: OLIVER UBERTI, NG STAFF. SOURCE: "OECD HEALTH DATA 2009," ORGANISATION FOR ECONOMIC CO OPERATION AND DEVELOPMENT HEALTH The Cost of Care The United States spends more on medical care per person than any country, yet life expectancy is shorter than in most other developed nations and many developing ones. Lack of health insurance is a factor in life span and contributes to an estimated 45,000 deaths a year. Why the high cost? The U.S. has a fee-for-service system---paying medical providers piecemeal for appointments, surgery, and the like. That can lead to unneeded treatment that doesn't reliably improve a patient's health. Says Gerard Anderson, a professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health who studies health insurance worldwide, "More care does not necessarily mean better care." ---Michelle Andrews Dollar figures reflect all public and private spending on care, from doctor visits to hospital infrastructure. Data are from 2007 or the most recent year available.