Skip to main content

Advanced Search

Advanced Search

Current Filters

Filter your query

Publication Types



Journal Article


Health Care Spending in OECD Countries: Obtaining Value per Dollar

Abstract available at:

In 2005, the U.S. spent $6,041 per capita on health care—more than double the median per capita spending ($2,922) of the 30 industrialized countries that form the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). In addition, the U.S. spent 15.3 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) compared with the OCED median of 9.1 percent. Various U.S. government agencies—including the Congressional Budget Office—expect this percentage to continue to rise, with serious implications for the economy. To measure value for health care dollars spent, the researchers compared spending (based on per capita income) and life expectancy. Japan, for instance, has the highest life expectancy among OECD countries, yet spends less than predicted on health care. Spain and Italy also fall into that category. In contrast, the U.S. has higher-than-expected spending yet less-than-expected life expectancy. In addition, on 16 measures of quality collected by the OECD, the U.S. was as likely to be in the top half as in the bottom half of nations, indicating it is not receiving good value for money spent.

Publication Details



G. F. Anderson and B. K. Frogner, Health Spending in OECD Countries: Obtaining Value per Dollar, Health Affairs, November/December 2008 27(6):1718–27