"It is a common assumption that Americans get more health care services than people in other countries, but in fact we do not go to the doctor or the hospital as often," said Squires. "The higher prices we pay for health care and perhaps our greater use of expensive technology are the more likely explanations for high health spending in the U.S. Unfortunately, we do not seem to get better quality for this higher spending."
Prices for the 30 most commonly used prescription drugs were a third higher in the U.S. compared to Canada and Germany, and more than double the amount paid for the same drugs in Australia, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. Magnetic imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scans were also more expensive in the U.S., and American physicians received the highest fees for primary care office visits and hip replacements.
Health care in the U.S. also seems to involve greater use of expensive technology than in many other countries. The U.S. performed the most MRI and CT exams among countries for which data were available (Japan had the most MRI and CT scanners, but no data was available on the number of exams performed there). Knee replacements were also performed more often in the U.S. than any country except Germanythough hip replacements were not as common as in most of the other study countries.
High spending in the U.S. might be explained, in part, by the nation's high rates of obesity and the associated medical costs. However, at the same time, the U.S. also has a very young population and few smokers relative to the othe
|Contact: Mary Mahon|