Data collected by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development show that between 2000 and 2010, average per capita spending among member countries increased by more than 70 percent. In the past decade or more, Canada, France, Germany, and England in particular have undertaken a variety of strategies to slow this rate of spending.
What the Study Found
Researchers supported by The Commonwealth Fund reviewed the range of strategies used to contain health system costs in Canada, England, France, and Germany. All four countries rely on technology assessments to identify more cost-effective drugs and technologies; use hospital payment systems based on diagnosis-related groups; and tailor payment to reflect value. Although these strategies have likely led to more efficient use of health care resources, the researchers contend that, so far, they have failed to contain costs. Meanwhile, costs have remained lower overall in the four countries because they make far greater use of pricing and volume controls than does the U.S.
Similar to Canada, France, Germany and England, the U.S. is moving toward policies aimed at promoting value and economic efficiency in health care without restricting coverage. But given the unlikelihood that the U.S. health care system will also adopt the volume and price controls used in these countries, this study concludes "it is likely that the large gap in health care spending between the four countries in our study and the United States will remain."