Cross-posted at Montclair SocioBlog.

In case you wondered about what we in the U.S. pay for health care compared with those unfree unfortunates who suffer under various forms of socialized medicine, here are some graphs from 2009 showing the advantages of what is sometimes called “the best health care system in the world.”

The graphs are from the International Federation of Health Plans. I’ve selected only four — to show the relative costs* of

  • an office visit
  • a day in the hospital
  • a common procedure (childbirth without complications)
  • a widely used drug (Lipitor)

You can download all the charts here, but be warned: it gets boring. We’re number one in every chart, at least in this one category of how much we shell out.

Since we have the best health care in the world, this must mean that you get what you pay for. Our Lipitor must be four to ten times as good as the Lipitor that Canadians take.

Hat tip: Ezra Klein.


*These amounts are what providers are paid by governments or other insurers, not what the patient pays, which in many Eurpean countries is essentially nothing. See the footnotes for the tables in the original document. Or look at the comments on this at Boing Boing, a discussion which is remarkably civil (do they monitor comments?).