Senator Bernie Sanders continued to blast the state of the American healthcare system during the recent Democratic debates, drawing damning comparisons with other nations such as Canada. He has also consistently critized “the incredible corruption and greed” of the pharmaceutical industry, singling out soaring insulin prices to prove his point. Two days before the second debate, the Vermont senator traveled on a bus across the Canadian border with over a dozen U.S. patients where they could puchase insulin at a tenth of the price. He described the current situation as “a national embarrassment”.
So just how flawed is the U.S. healthcare system compared to other countries? There are many ways of approaching that question but comparing per capita healthcare spending in different nations is a good way to start. As our chart (compiled with OECD data) illustrates, U.S. health spending per capita (including public and private spending) is higher than it is anywhere else in the world, and yet, the country lags behind other nations in several aspects such as life expectancy and health insurance coverage.