How do we fund our healthcare? As the US reacts to the latest supreme court ruling on President Obama's proposals, and the media's attention turns to how individual states will enforce the new proposals, we thought it would be interesting to take a step back and see how the US compares to other countries across the world.
The US system of health insurance for those who can afford it and state aid for those who can't is very different to the UK's National Health Service - which nonetheless has a strong reliance on private healthcare. In turn, compare this to Cuba, which has some of the highest of spending in the world, compared to its economic size.
But who spends the most? We took these statistics from the World Health Organisation, which measure spending and medical infrastructure in nearly 200 countries across the globe. They how huge variations in health funding, depending on where you live, although for most countries, people have to pay for healthcare direct.
The data shows that
• The US has the highest health spending in the world - equivalent to 17.9% of its gross domestic product (GDP), or $8,362 per person. And it's not all private - government spending is at $4,437 per person, only behind Luxembourg, Monaco and Norway
• Under half of all US health spending is by private companies - 46.9%. But it has the highest rate for health insurance in the world
- 67.8% of all private spending. Which means the rest comes from out of pocket expenses, ie paying for health as you go
• In many countries 'pay as you go' health care is all that's available. Some of them are very poor, such as Congo or Eritrea
• Cuba has some of the highest government health spending in the world - 91.5% of all health spending. The result is 67.23 doctors per 10,000 population, the highest of any major country
• But it's beaten by the UK on nurses - it has 101 per 10,000 people, only behind countries like Norway and Germany. The UK also spends $3,480 per year on health - 9.6% of health spending - with government spending making up 83.9% of all health spending
• Qatar has the lowest health spending in the world, 1.8% of GDP, followed by Burma (Myanmar) and Pakistan at 2.2%. The WHO says Burma's government spends only $4 per person on healthcare
What would make this data even more interesting is mashing it up with health outcomes, to get some sense of which approach is most effective. This is just a start - we'd love to know if you can add some more detailed analysis to it.
Even so, it provides a fascinating insight into priorities around the world.
The full data is below. What can you do with it?
Health spending by country