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Health Spending Increase Accelerated in 2016 – OECD

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A new OECD Health Statistics 2018 report, released in June 2018, shows that health spending in 2016 grew by its fastest rate in seven years, with further growth expected in 2017.

OECD countries spending on health care increased by 3.4% on average in 2016, its highest rate since 2009. That percentage is still below pre-global financial crisis levels, when average health expenditures rose by around 4-6% per year (in real terms), outstripping economic growth. Health spending has tended to follow economic growth since 2012.

Health spending as a share of GDP was 8.9% in 2016 and is forecast to stay at this level in 2017. At 17.2% of GDP, health spending was highest in the United States. Switzerland (12.3%) and France (11.5%) are the second and third highest spenders. At the other end of the scale, Turkey (4.2%) and Mexico (5.4%) each spent less than 6% of their GDP on health.

In per capita terms, health spending in 2017 is estimated to have reached USD 4 069 (adjusted for differences in price levels) on average across the OECD. This is roughly 70% more than OECD countries spend on education for each citizen.

In the United States, the average spend is expected to have risen above USD 10 000 for the first time in 2017. Per capita spending was also much above the OECD average in Switzerland (USD 8 009), Luxembourg (USD 7 049) and Norway (USD 6 351).

Overall health spending growth in 2016 was mainly triggered by increases in outpatient care (+4.4%), with long-term care (+3.0%), retail pharmaceuticals (+2.8%) and inpatient care (+2.2%) recording more moderate growth.


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