- The U.S. healthcare system ranked 50th among 55 countries in 2014 on life expectancy, spending per capita and relative spending as a share of gross domestic product, Bloomberg reported.
- Only Jordan, Colombia, Azerbaijan, Brazil and Russia fared worse, according to the Bloomberg Health-Care Efficiency Index. The top five performers were Hong Kong, Singapore, Spain, South Korea and Japan.
- The 2014 data — the most recent available — cover the first full year of Obamacare, but are too recent to assess its effect on longevity.
Top-ranked Hong Kong, where spending averaged $2,021 per person and life expectancy was 84 years, had a healthcare efficiency score of 88.9. By contrast, U.S. per capita spending was $9,403, or about 17% of the gross national product, and longevity was just shy of 79 years — giving it a 32.6 efficiency score.
A recent analysis by the Congressional Budget Office projects that the annual federal budget shortfall will go from $520 billion in 2018 to $1.2 trillion in 2026, largely due to growth in spending on healthcare and retirement programs. The number of people age 65 and older has more than doubled from 50 years ago, with Medicare currently totaling about 3% of GDP.
While CBO predicts spending on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid will grow between 2016 and 2026 (from about 33% to 40%), the Urban Institute sees the U.S. spending $2.6 trillion less on healthcare from 2014 to 2019 than was projected post-ACA implementation.
The ACA’s impact on per capita healthcare costs is hard to gauge, as spending was already starting to respond by 2010 to the economic recovery and changes in coverage policy in the private sector, Jon Oberlander, professor of health policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, told Bloomberg.
Chile, the only country from the Americas to rank in the top 10, averaged just $1,137 per person and had a life expectancy of 81.5 years.
Sweden, which ranked 14th in 2009, dropped to 27th in 2014 as spending per person increased 50%. Saudi Arabia also lost ground, dropping 17th to 38th on spending growth of nearly 80%.