Two studies out. Not exactly new news. I did a study looking at laproscopic cholecystectomy between Japan and the US for my master’s thesis in 1992. The result then was that it cost twice as much here, when in those days everything else in Japan (land, food, cars, golf club memberships, hookers) cost twice as much. Outcomes seemed to be similar even though patterns of care were very different overall.
Now a similar study (albeit done in a major journal and not for some punk’s masters thesis) is showing the same thing about the costs of CABGs between the US and Canada. They cost twice as much here too. Outcomes again seem to be similar.
The in-hospital cost of CABG in the United States is substantially higher than in Canada. This difference is due to higher direct and overhead costs in US hospitals, is not explained by demographic or clinical differences, and does not lead to superior clinical outcomes.
Finally, in a repeat/update of an article he wrote with Uwe Reinhardt a while back called "It’s the prices, stupid" Gerald Anderson shows that we spend more money here because in general we pay more for the same thing.
U.S. citizens spent $5,267 per capita for health care in 2002—53 percent more than any other country. Two possible reasons for the differential are supply constraints that create waiting lists in other countries and the level of malpractice litigation and defensive medicine in the United States. Services that typically have queues in other countries account for only 3 percent of U.S. health spending. The cost of defending U.S. malpractice claims is estimated at $6.5 billion in 2001, only 0.46 percent of total health spending. The two most important reasons for higher U.S. spending appear to be higher incomes and higher medical care prices.
So we’re shopping at Nordstroms and the rest of the world goes to K-Mart. Of course if you can’t "afford" Nordstroms, you’re SOL.