Europe and US Healthcare Spending: Research Paper


In 750-1,000 words, do the following: Compare how much the United States and Europe spend on healthcare every year. Does the U.S. spend comparatively more or less than other developed countries? Explain what metrics are used to measure health. Where does the United States fall, according to those metrics? Describe the rationale for the role […]

Is the US Healthcare System Sick?

The American healthcare system is distinctive among developed nations. The U.S. lacks universal health care coverage and a uniform health system, preferring to operate a hybrid system rather than adhering to a single-payer national health insurance system, a national health service, or a multi-payer universal health insurance fund (Department of Professional Employees [DPE], 2016). The American medical care system is expensive yet inefficient, which affects healthcare performance, necessitating the government to use its role in health provision to find more efficient, less-expensive methods.

Annual Healthcare Comparison

The U.S. spends comparatively more than European countries. In a study by Braithwaite et al. (2017), the researchers evaluated international indicators specification and application in Europe and America, concluding that America spends more on healthcare GDP than European countries, although it was less effective. For example, the U.S. uses 17.9 per cent of its GDP in financing healthcare (Braithwaite et al., 2017). Following the U.S. are the Netherlands (11.9%), Denmark (11.4%), New Zealand (10.1%), Scotland (9.6%), and England (9.6%), as shown in figure 1 below. (Braithwaite et al., 2017). The healthcare expenditure per capita in the U.S. is $8,713, which is significantly more than the highest of Europe’s expenditure country, Switzerland, at $6,325 (DPE, 2016). Most European countries such as Denmark, England, The Netherlands, and Scotland incorporate universal healthcare plan coverage through public funding, resulting in more-efficient medical care at a lower expenditure (Braithwaite et al., 2017). However, despite the U.S. having the highest expenditure, as shown in figure 2 below, it also has one of the highest infant mortality rates, lowest life expectancy at birth, and least coverage, as more than 32.9 million citizens lack health insurance coverage (Braithwaite et al., 2017; DPE, 2016). The U.S. significantly funds its health sector more than European countries, although the latter’s affordable, universal healthcare increases health performance. Therefore, America should change its medical care policies to enhance effectiveness in the sector.



Health Metrics

Healthcare uses Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure performance, used in optimizing, analyzing, and monitoring all processes that increase the satisfaction of patients. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the United States scores effectiveness, safety, appropriateness, and patient-centred experience. However, it lagged behind most other European countries regarding other indicators, as shown in figure 3 below. According to Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, other equally wealthy countries outshines America in 18 out of 27 crucial healthcare areas, with death amenable to healthcare, premature death, and disease burden on the rise (Claxton, Cox, Gonzales, Kamal, & Levitt, 2015). American healthcare quality still lags behind other developed countries, and the country needs to review its policies to enhance service delivery.


Government Role in Healthcare

It is the government’s responsibility to provide high-quality healthcare as a way of advancing and protecting the interest of the citizens. The American government is tasked with safeguarding society’s interests by regulating the healthcare sector to avoid exploitation (Straube, 2013). The government’s intervention should include policies meant to help poor regions, as poverty is a salient factor in healthcare provision. The U.S. government must introduce healthcare solutions to safeguard all its citizens.

Solutions to High Cost and Limited Coverage

All developed countries spend less on healthcare expenditure than the U.S., but the latter’s performance is poor. The discrepancy between healthcare spending and effective healthcare service provision stems from America’s tendency to privatize even publicly financed services, resulting in higher public and private expenditures (DPE, 2016). The American healthcare GDP is enough to introduce publicly-funded, universal coverage, as the country’s spending is enough to support the initiative. America should examine other nations that provide better, universal healthcare and adapt their policies accordingly. Therefore, adopting public-run health care rather than delegating medical services to private entities will enable America to reform its services.

Canada’s Single-Payer System

A single-payer plan offers some advantages, including adopting cost-containment methods, administrative savings for providers, elimination of surprise billing, and more equitable distribution of medical expenses. However, its demerits include inequality in healthcare access, inefficient cost-containment strategies, and increased healthcare spending (Hsiao, 2011). Canada’s single-payer system offers merits in equitability at an individual’s expense, although it promotes inequality and increases government spending.


The U.S. healthcare system is sick and needs to lower its healthcare expenditure while increasing its medical care performance index. It is thus essential to review healthcare policies and ensure that they give every citizen equal opportunity to access affordable healthcare, as it is the role of the government. Therefore, the disparity between medical care expenditure and service delivery acts as a beacon that re-examines American healthcare policies and evaluates the changes needed to give Americans affordable, quality healthcare.


Braithwaite, J., Hibbert, P., Blakely, B., Plumb, J., Hannaford, N., Long, J. L., & Marks, D. (2017). A comparative international analysis of health system frameworks and performance indicators in eight countries. SAGE Open Med, 5.

Claxton, G., Cox. C., Gonzales, S., Kamal, R., & Levitt, L. (2015). Measuring the quality of healthcare in the U.S. Health System Tracker. Retrieved from

Hsiao, W. C. (2011). State-based single-payer health care – a solution for the United States? New England Journal of Medicine364(13), 1188-1190.

Straube, B. M. (2013). A role for government: an observation on federal healthcare efforts in prevention. American journal of preventive medicine44(1), 39-42.

The U.S. Health Care System: An International Perspective. (2016). Department for Professional Employees, Retrieved from

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Published On: 01-01-1970

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