The United States currently ranks highest in health care spending among the developed nations of the world. According to data released by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 2017 (the latest for which figures were available), the U.S. rate was a staggering $10,029 per capita. Switzerland had the second-highest health care budget, with expenditures at $8,009 per capita; Luxembourg rounds out the top three, spending $7,048 per capita.

The situation was roughly the same five years ago back in 2012. OECD data 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 $1,193 in 2017 – one of the lowest of any developed country.

Despite the U.S. government having the highest health-care budget, much of the cost is not publicly financed, but instead comes from personal expenditures and those related to private health insurance. Countries such as Norway (which spends the fourth most) have socialized much of their medicine. With its surplus from oil derivatives, Norway finances much the country's social medicine and expenditures through its Government Pension Fund (though of late more costs have shifted to private sources). The point is, Norway still remains one of the healthiest nations despite spending a significant amount less than the U.S. does on health care ($6,351 per capita).

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). However, comparing the amount paid based on GDP result in slightly different rankings. The U.S. and Switzerland are again in the top two spots, spending 17.15% and 12.25% of GDP respectively. Third place goes to France, with 11.45%, followed closely by Germany, with 11.27%.

No matter how you parse it, there is no denying that the U.S. spends more on health care by a wide margin. The size of this gap can be explained largely by the fragmented network of health insurance in the U.S.: Multiple payment types and insurance companies exist, each offering different services. This lack of federal oversight contrasts with that of other nations, whose governments impose oversight that, by setting benchmarks for pricing and services, establishes a national standard of care.

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