IP-23-1993 (December 1993)
Author: Linda Gorman
Myth no. 1: The U.S. health care system is inefficient. This myth is supposedly proved by the “fact” that the U.S. spends more on health care than other industrialized countries both on a per capita basis and as a percentage of gross domestic product.
The U.S. does not spend more per capita than other countries when proper corrections are made for differences in national accounting systems, income, the age of its population, drug abuse, violent crime, population density, malpractice liability, and spending for medical R&D. When proper corrections are made, the U.S. spends less than Canada on a per capita basis.(1)
By most measures the U.S. has the highest per capita income in the world. Wealthier people buy more health care. Even if all health care systems were the same, the U.S. would still spend more on health care. To put things in perspective, in 1990 12.2% of gross national product was spent on health care. People are fond of claiming that this will bankrupt the republic. If that is true, what about the 9.2% spend on private automobiles in the same year?(2)