Recent analysis and ranking of hospitals has ignited a passionate public dialogue about the state of Canadian health care. For this week’s map, we’ve decided to ‘zoom out’ from national healthcare concerns and evaluate Canada in relation to some broader worldwide metrics. We’ve categorized countries based on a 2011 World Health Organization international dataset, showing the percentage of healthcare expenditures contributed by governments. Additionally, we’ve provided information on per capita spending on healthcare in each country. Here is what we found:
We’re very lucky to live in Canada, land of universal healthcare, where the government pays the lion’s share of our medical bills. Government control of our healthcare system certainly contributes to keeping overall costs low – compare total spending per capita in Canada to south of the border, where medicine seems to cost about 35% more. The United States shows some of the highest healthcare prices in the world, due to the fact that their system is largely privatized and loosely regulated – as can be seen from the map, their level of government support is quite low. The highest levels of government spending are seen in western Europe: though the cost of care in some nations is extraordinarily high, the state steps in to take care of the bills. Aren’t social safety nets wonderful? While the government of the UK shows up as a high-spending entity on this map, it might not be when this dataset is updated with 2013 statistics – the current dismantling of the National Health Service by David Cameron’s administration is leaving many worried about the future state of care in Britain.
Given the low economic output of many African countries, it is not surprising that the expenditures (and percentage government spending) are much lower than Western nations – we hope that NGOs are responsibly picking up the slack. Russia, many of its former states and China seem to read as a homogenous mass but there is quite a bit of nuance in the per capita healthcare spending. The ‘star’ of socialized medical care in Asia is definitely Thailand, with 75% of expenses being picked up by the state and considerably more per capita spending than its neighbours – presumably this focus on healthcare is the reason for the its burgeoning medical tourism industry. Shifting your attention to Oceania you’ll note that Australia (by no means an inexpensive country to live in) features per capita expenses that are not that far off from the high numbers associated with America. Medical expenditures are obviously a complex tangle of policy and ideology, hopefully this map provides a quick point of entry into a global conversation.