Posts Tagged ‘Germany’

Global Healthcare Spending Growing Faster Than GDPs

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

Blame the Great Recession for sharp increases in the ratio of healthcare spending to GDP.  Real annual per-capita health spending climbed 4.2 percent between 2000 and 2008 in Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, according to a new study.  Not surprisingly, the United States led the pack of 31 nations with healthcare spending as a proportion of GDP rising by 16 percent.  Next in line were France (11.2 percent); Switzerland (10.7 percent); Austria (10.5 percent); and Germany (10.5 percent).  Healthcare spending in the United States was $7,538 person.  Compare that to $5,003 in Norway; $4,627 in Switzerland; $4,210 in Luxembourg; and $4,079 in Canada.

According to the OECD, healthcare spending is rising faster than economic growth.  The average ratio of healthcare spending to GDP rose from 7.8 percent in 2000 to nine percent in 2008.  Technological changes, an aging population and high expectations are among the factors driving up costs, a situation that is unlikely to change in the near future.  The Great Recession also led to increases in the ratio of healthcare spending to GDP in several countries.  Ireland, for example, saw an increase from 7.5 percent in 2007 to 8.7 percent in 2008, while it rose from 8.4 percent to nine percent in Spain.

Government pays for healthcare coverage in the majority of OECD nations.  As a result, government spending on healthcare rose from an average of 12 percent in 1990 to 16 percent in 2008.  As a result, nations currently under pressure to reduce budget deficits have some difficult decisions to make to sustain their healthcare systems.  The options are to cut the growth of public spending on healthcare, cutting other expenditures, or raising taxes.