Info-graphic: Life expectancy, Spending on Healthcare, Universal Insurance Comparison

This image from the National Geographic blog speaks volumes. Whatever your opinion of the politics of the healthcare reform, or whether or not you agree with the data presented here, you cannot deny the power of communication of a well-designed info-graphic.

National Geographic Info-graphic Health Insurance
(click for larger image)

The United States spends more on medical care per person than any country, yet life expectancy is shorter than in most other developed nations and many developing ones. Lack of health insurance is a factor in life span and contributes to an estimated 45,000 deaths a year. Why the high cost? The U.S. has a fee-for-service system—paying medical providers piecemeal for appointments, surgery, and the like. That can lead to unneeded treatment that doesn’t reliably improve a patient’s health. Says Gerard Anderson, a professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health who studies health insurance worldwide, “More care does not necessarily mean better care.” —Michelle Andrews

HT @BoraZ via Twitter

8 thoughts on “Info-graphic: Life expectancy, Spending on Healthcare, Universal Insurance Comparison

  1. Geof F. Morris

    Amen. So what *are* your thoughts on the health-care reform process? I don’t think the current bill in the Congress is perfect by any means, but I think that it’s a gradual step in the right direction.

  2. Karyn Post author

    I think health-care reform (and insurance-reform) are going to be like turning the Titanic. You have to make small changes in direction and it takes a while for the turn to be accomplished.

    I also think it is very complicated. I have international friends who both love and loathe national coverage. No one plan is going to fix everything or fit everyone. Nevertheless, it does seem to me that the countries with national coverage have some pretty good statistics to consider.

  3. Karyn Post author


    That is a terrific improved version! Thank you for pointing that out. One thing I wonder about with these graphs is the consideration for average income. Have these figures been corrected for that? While $7000+ per person is the most being spent by any country on healthcare, the $800+ per person in Mexico is probably not a fair comparison since our incomes and cost of living are so different. Just goes to show that with selective statistics you can almost “prove” anything you want to say.


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