A:

The United States currently ranks highest in health care spending. Of the countries spending the most on health care, the U.S. spent a staggering $8,508 per capita. Norway had the second-highest health care budget, with expenditures at $5,699 per capita. This information comes from data released by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) from 2013.

The situation was roughly the same back in 2012, based on the data from the OECD that listed the U.S. as the country with the largest health care spending, sitting at $8,745 per capita. Compare this to Turkey, which spent $984 per capita on health care in 2012 and subsequently was one of the lowest of any developed country.

Despite the U.S. having the highest health care budget, much of the cost is not government-related but instead private expenditures and those related to insurance. Countries such as Norway have socialized much of their medicine. With its surplus from oil derivatives, Norway used to spend more on the country's social medicine and expenditures through its Government Pension Fund. Despite the change, Norway still remains one of the healthiest nations despite spending a significant amount less than the U.S. does on health care.

The U.S. spends more on its health care budget in pure dollars per capita as well as based on its gross domestic product (GDP). Based on the data provided by the OECD from 2013, the top three countries spending the most on health care were the U.S., Norway and Switzerland. However, comparing the amount paid based on GDP would result in different rankings.

Switzerland spent 11% of its GDP on health care spending. Norway only spent 9.3% of its GDP on its health care. The U.S. spent a shocking 17.7% of its GDP on health care costs. By using the GDP standard instead of raw dollars spent, Norway isn't second, partly due to its government spending. Second place would in fact go to the Netherlands, which spent 11.9% of its GDP on health care in 2013.

Despite the different rankings based on raw dollar amounts and GDP spent, there is no denying that the U.S. spent more than any of the other countries by a wide margin. The difference in GDP between the U.S. and that of the Netherlands is 6.8%. The size of this gap can be explained largely by the U.S. and its fragmented health insurances and the lack of government oversight that exists in many countries. This oversight places standards of pricing and care so that a standard of care can be expected and received. This is in strong contrast to the U.S, which uses multiple payment types and insurances, such as Aetna and Cigna, with each offering different services.

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