Rich countries hit brake for health spending: OECD

November 20, 2013

A third of the world's rich countries cut health spending between 2009 and 2011, according to a probe of 33 advanced economies published on Thursday.

Per-capita spending on health fell in 11 of these countries, notably by 11.1 percent in Greece and 6.6 percent in Ireland, while growth in spending slowed in others, including Canada (0.8 percent) and the United States (1.3 percent).

Just two countries—Israel and South Korea—saw an acceleration in the growth of health spending, compared with the previous decade, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said.

The report blamed in austerity-hit countries for the drop in healthcare spending.

Main targets for spending restrictions were cutting prices of medicines, limiting wages in hospitals and scaling back budgets for prevention programmes, it said.

The report added that for the first time, the across the OECD exceeded 80 years—an increase of a decade from 1970 to 2011.

"This trend shows no sign of slowing down," it said.

"Those born in Switzerland, Japan and Italy can expect to live the longest among OECD countries."

But it also pointed to the widening prevalence of diabetes, obesity and dementia in the rich world.

"In 2011, close to seven percent of 20-79-year-olds in OECD countries, or close to 85 million people, had diabetes," said the report, entitled "Health At A Glance 2013."

"This number is likely to increase in the years ahead, given the high and often growing rates of obesity across the developed world."

The report also noted a burden from out-of-pocket spending in some countries.

"On average in the OECD, 20 percent of is paid directly by patients; this ranges from less than 10 percent in the Netherlands and France to over 35 percent in Chile, (South) Korea and Mexico."

Explore further: US tops world in health care spending, results lag

Related Stories

US tops world in health care spending, results lag

December 8, 2009

(AP) -- The United States ranks near the bottom in life expectancy among wealthy nations despite spending more than double per person on health care than the industrialized world's average, an economic group said Tuesday.

Number of fat people in US to grow, report says

September 23, 2010

(AP) -- Citizens of the world's richest countries are getting fatter and fatter and the United States is leading the charge, an organization of leading economies said Thursday in its first ever obesity forecast.

OECD says IT sector resisting economic crisis

October 4, 2012

The information and communication technology (ICT) sector has resisted the economic crisis and is becoming a key infrastructure for the world's economy, the OECD said Thursday.

Farm subsidies rising in world's biggest economies

September 18, 2013

Farm subsidies in the world's biggest economies rose in 2012, the OECD said, reversing a long-term trend as governments poured more funding into agriculture despite strained budgets and high food prices.

OECD says Brazil inequality persists

October 23, 2013

Brazil may have cut the number of people living in poverty in recent years but inequality persists and better education is needed, the OECD said Tuesday.

Recommended for you

Bacteria in smokeless tobacco products may be a health concern

August 26, 2016

Several species of bacteria found in smokeless tobacco products have been associated with opportunistic infections, according to a paper published August 26 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American ...

Is tailgating toxic?

August 26, 2016

While tailgating this football season you may want to take a step back from the grill and generator—for your health.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.