Trend in Health Spending is Global
Written by Editor   
Wednesday, July 02, 2014 07:25 AM

Other industrialized countries have been experiencing the same variations in health spending growth over the past 30 years as the U.S., a new analysis found, suggesting that the factors driving these ups and downs are not unique to the U.S.

In every period since 1980 during which growth in U.S. healthcare spending dramatically outpaced the rest of the economy, the same thing was happening in most other countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which represents the world's major industrial powers.

Similarly, when spending growth slowed significantly in the U.S. -- including the period since 2009 -- the same was seen among OECD nations generally.

Although the alternating periods of rapid and slow expansion of the U.S. healthcare sector were generally mirrored in other OECD countries, rates of expansion during periods of sharp growth were typically much greater in the U.S. than elsewhere.  During periods of slow growth, rates of excess health spending in the U.S. and OECD median were similar. As a result, the difference between the U.S. and other countries in the size of the healthcare sector relative to the rest of the economy ratcheted upward with each period of rapid expansion.