Stats about Healthcare

  • The United States spends six times more per capita on the administration of the health care system than its peer Western European nations.14
  • Health care spending is 4.3 times the amount spent on national defense.3
  • Although nearly 46 million Americans are uninsured, the United States spends more on health care than other industrialized nations, and those countries provide health insurance to all their citizens.3
  • Health care spending accounted for
    • 17 percent of the GDP in America
    • 10.9 percent of the in Switzerland,
    • 10.7 percent in Germany,
    • 9.7 percent in Canada
    • 9.5 percent in France
  • According to a recent report, the United States has $480 billion in excess spending each year in comparison to Western European nations that have universal health insurance coverage. The costs are mainly associated with excess administrative costs and poorer quality of care.14
  • National surveys show that the primary reason people are uninsured is the high cost of health insurance coverage.2
  • A recent study by Harvard University researchers found that the average out-of-pocket medical debt for those who filed for bankruptcy was $12,000.
  • The study noted that 68 percent of those who filed for bankruptcy had health insurance.
  • 50 percent of all bankruptcy filings were partly the result of medical expenses.9 
  • Every 30 seconds in the United States someone files for bankruptcy in the aftermath of a serious health problem.
  • A new survey shows that more than 25 percent said that housing problems resulted from medical debt, including the inability to make rent or mortgage payments and the development of bad credit ratings.10
  • About 1.5 million families lose their homes to foreclosure every year due to unaffordable medical costs. 11


  1. Keehan, S. et al. “Health Spending Projections Through 2017, Health Affairs Web Exclusive W146: 21 February 2008.
  2. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Employee Health Benefits: 2008 Annual Survey. September 2008.
  3. California Health Care Foundation. Health Care Costs 101 — 2005. 02 March 2005.
  4. Pear, R., “U.S. Health Care Spending Reaches All-Time High: 15% of GDP.” The New York Times, 9 January 2004, 3.
  5. McKinsey and Company. The McKinsey Quarterly Chart Focus Newsletter, “Will Health Benefit Costs Eclipse Profits,” September, 2004.
  6. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Employee Health Benefits: 2008 Annual Survey. September 2008.
  7. Agency for Heathcare Research and Quality. Out-of-Pocket Expenditures on Health Care and Insurance Premiums Among the Non-elderly Population, 2003, March 2006.
  8. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. The Uninsured: A Primer, Key Facts About Americans without Health Insurance. 2004. 10 November 2004
  9. Himmelstein, D, E. Warren, D. Thorne, and S. Woolhander, “Illness and Injury as Contributors to Bankruptcy, ” Health Affairs Web Exclusive W5-63, 02 February , 2005.
  10. The Access Project. Home Sick: How Medical Debt Undermines Housing Security. Boston, MA, November 2005.
  11. Robertson, C.T., et al. “Get Sick, Get Out: The Medical Causes of Home Mortgage Foreclosures,” Health Matrix, 2008
  12. Selzer and Company Inc. Department of Public Health 2005 Survey of Iowa Consumers, September 2005.
  13. Fidelity Investments, Press Release, 06 March 2006.
  14. McKinsey Global Institute. Accounting for the Cost in the United States. January 2007

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