If you measure the efficiency of a country’s health care system by the improvement of life expectancy per dollar spent on health care, the United States ranks near the bottom of advanced industrialized countries, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health.
According to data analyzed by experts at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and McGill University in Montreal, for every $100 per capita spent on health care annually between 1991 and 2007, the life expectancy at birth for a U.S. citizen increased by less than half a month. Over the same period in Germany, by contrast, that same level of spending increased life expectancy by more than four months.
For women, the news is even worse.
"Out of the 27 high-income nations we studied, the United States ranks 25th when it comes to reducing women's deaths," said Dr. Jody Heymann, senior author of the study and dean of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. "The country's efficiency of investments in reducing men's deaths is only slightly better, ranking 18th."
The chart below illustrates where the U.S. falls among other countries in the organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Be warned: It’s not exactly uplifting.