United States Health Care Cost and Performance
The United States is renowned for its high standards of health care—and for having the most expensive system in the world. When considering the prospect of global growth in medical tourism, the U.S. will have a major impact on the industry’s growth; therefore, understanding some of the major forces at work that increase or decrease the likelihood of the growth of U.S. acceptance of medical tourism is vital.
In 2010, the U.S. has been engaged in a prolonged political debate about the health care system, and President Obama and the Democratic Congress passed a major health care reform bill, but the country is very divided on health care. Americans increasingly realize that the U.S. health care system performs poorly from a cost/benefit perspective, which can be seen by comparing to other countries’ health systems.
The table below (Fast Company) illustrates that Americans spend $7,300 per capita for health care every year, and the U.S. average life expectancy is 78 years old. The U.K. spends $2,992 per capita for an average life expectancy of 79.2 years old. Mexico spends $823 per capita, and Mexicans have an average life expectancy of 75.2 years old. South Korea is another emerging medical tourism destination that performs well: $1,688 per capita for an 80-year average life expectancy. This chart is a strong indication that cost/performance pressure is high in the U.S. and will probably lead to more demand for medical tourism.