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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter September 10, 2012

High US Health-Care Spending and the Importance of Provider Payment Rates

Gerard Anderson, Kalipso Chalkidou and Bradley Herring


We compare health care spending in the USA to other industrialized countries and find that payment rates for hospitals, physicians, and drugs are generally much higher in the USA than they are in other industrialized countries while the quantity of services – as measured by the number of physician visits, hospital days and prescriptions filled per capita – is relatively similar across countries. We then explore policy initiatives designed to control payment rates and volume of services and review the success and failures of these initiatives. Within the USA, the private sector pays significantly higher rates for hospital and physician services and drugs than the public sector. Thus, if the USA is going to reduce health care spending, it may be necessary to begin by reducing payment rates in the private sector. Options to achieve this goal are presented.

Corresponding author: Gerard Anderson, Professor of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Published Online: 2012-09-10

©2012 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/Boston

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