Countries Spending the Most on Health Care

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10. France
> Health expenditure per capita: $4,118
> Expenditure as a pct. of GDP: 11.6% (3rd highest)
> Pct. obese: 12.9%
> Life expectancy: 82.2 years

Although nine countries in the OECD spent more on health care per person than France’s $4,118, only two countries exceeded France’s health care expense as a percent of GDP of 11.6%. The French have one of the longest life expectancies at birth of any developed nation at 82.2 years despite an above-average percentage of citizens who smoke and the second highest level of alcohol consumption in the OECD. France has made efforts to curb smoking and exposure to smoke in recent years. In 2007, smoking was prohibited in public places, although some residents and businesses have resisted the ban over the years.

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9. Germany
> Health expenditure per capita: $4,495
> Expenditure as a pct. of GDP: 11.3% (4th highest)
> Pct. obese: 14.7%
> Life expectancy: 80.8 years

While it spends nearly $4,500 per person, or 11.3% of GDP, on health care, Germany’s spending growth has been minimal Since 2000, health care expenditures have risen by an average of just 2.0% per year, one of the lowest annual average growth rates in the OECD. Germans have a high number of doctors and nurses per 1,000 residents, and each resident consults a doctor nearly 10 times a year on average. They also apparently have poor evaluations of their own health. In 2011, just 64% of Germans described their health as “good,” versus an OECD average of 69%.

8. Denmark
> Health expenditure per capita: $4,495
> Expenditure as a pct. of GDP: 11.1% (6th highest)
> Pct. obese: 13.4%
> Life expectancy: 79.9 years

Denmark spent $3,827 per person in public funds on health care, more than all but four other countries. This accounted for 85.1% of all spending on health care in the country, the second-highest proportion in the OECD, behind only the Netherlands. Denmark had the second highest number of nurses in the OECD, relative to population, at 15.4 per 1,000 residents. Conversely, it spent the second lowest proportion of any OECD country on pharmaceuticals and other medical supplies, at just 7.4% of all health care spending.

7. Canada
> Health expenditure per capita: $4,522
> Expenditure as a pct. of GDP: 11.2% (5th highest)
> Pct. obese: 17.7%
> Life expectancy: 81.0 years

Only four nations spent more than Canada on health care as a percent of GDP. Although the country offers public health care, paid for through taxes under the Canada Health Act, just over 70% of health care spending came from public funds — below the 72.2% average for the OECD. Despite its above average spending, Canada had just 2.4 doctors and 2.8 hospital beds per 1,000 residents, both among the lowest for all OECD nations. However, the nation is a major spender on pharmaceutical drugs at $752 per capita each year, higher than every other nation considered except for the U.S. Still, at 16.6% of health care expenditure, it is in line with the rest of the OECD.

6. Austria
> Health expenditure per capita: $4,546
> Expenditure as a pct. of GDP: 10.8% (8th highest)
> Pct. obese: 12.4%
> Life expectancy: 81.1 years

While Austria’s per capita health spending trails only a handful of developed nations, few countries have had spending grow as little as Austria in recent years. Since 2000, health care expenditures have risen an average of just 2.3% per year. Austria had 4.8 physicians and 7.7 hospital beds per 1,000 residents, more than nearly all other OECD nations. But despite its high health care spending, the country had just 7.8 nurses per 1,000 people, below the OECD average of 8.7 nurses. Also, Austria’s high spending did not appear make residents feel especially healthy; just 69% of residents described their health as “good” in 2011, in line with the average for all OECD nations.