The chart on the right comes from the Kaiser Family Foundation, and it shows the growth in healthcare expenditures in five selected countries over the past 40 years. The United States, of course, has the highest spending, but it also has the highest growth rate. An accompanying table shows spending in 15 OECD countries, and in 1970, the U.S. spent 58% more than average. In 1990 we spent 86% more. In 2008 we spent 91% more.
There are individual countries that have had higher growth rates than us, but all of them started from a much lower base. And even at that, nobody beats us by much. Even though our spending is already the highest in the world, our growth rate is still one of the highest too. No matter how much we pay our doctors, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and insurance carriers — and we pay them far more than any other country — it’s never enough. They always want more.