International Comparisons of Public Health Expenditures

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The United States spends more money on health care than any other country in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The OECD consists of 30 democracies, most of which are considered the most economically advanced countries in the world.

Why does the United States spend this amount on health care? Analysts break health care spending into two parts: price and quantity (which includes the number of visits to health care providers and the intensity of those visits). In terms of quantity, OECD data indicate that the United States has far fewer doctor visits per person compared with the OECD average; for hospitalizations, the United States ranks well below the OECD and is roughly comparable in terms of length of hospital stays.

The intensity of service delivery is a different story: The United States uses more of the newest medical technologies and performs several invasive procedures more frequently than the average OECD country. In terms of price, the OECD has stated that “there is no doubt that United States prices for medical care commodities and services are significantly higher than in other countries and serve as a key determinant of higher overall spending.” (Peterson, & Burton, 2007).

For this Discussion, think about national public health expenditures. Consider if these expenditures correlate with desired public health outcomes. Next, evaluate public health expenditures in the United States. Then, select a country other than the United States. Contrast the expenditures from the two countries.

With these thoughts in mind:

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2-3 pages explanation of how public health expenditures may or may not correlate with desired public health outcomes. Compare the differences in public health expenditures between the United States and one other country. Finally, explain any insights you had or conclusions you drew based upon your analysis.