US tops Canada in healthcare spending

Thursday, November 1, 2012

YARMOUTH, Maine – Since 1980, Medicare spending in the U.S. has grown almost three times faster than spending on a similar population group in Canada, according to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in October. Spending per Medicare enrollee rose from $1,215 in 1980 to $9,446 in 2009 in the U.S. vs. $2,141 to $9,292, respectively, in Canada, according to the study, which was conducted by David Himmelstein, MD, and Steffie Woolhandler, MD, at the School of Urban Public Health at City University of New York. Adjusted for inflation, those figures translate to a 198.7% growth rate in the U.S. compared with 73% in Canada. The designers of the study indicated that Canada’s higher base-year spending figure reflects its “more comprehensive benefits, covering about 80% of seniors’ health costs, versus about 50% in U.S. Medicare.”