American and Spanish Healthcare Costs and Statistics


The health care system is one of the main indicators of a country’s level of development (Thoumi, A., Drobnick, E., & McClellan, 2015). According to the statistics provided by the WHO, the USA’s health care system is not even among the twenty most developed ones in the world, whereas the one in Spain is in the top ten.

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Health Statistics and Costs

The provided below information focuses on the comparison of health care costs and statistics in the USA and Spain. These statistics include mortality and life expectancy rates, health care expenditure per capita in dollars, major health conditions and diseases, and the percentage of health care expenditure in the gross domestic product (GDP).

The United States

According to the WHO, life expectancy rates in the USA are 79.7 years, which is higher than 75.1 in 1990. The mortality rates are approximately 2,650,000 per year. In terms of health care expenditure per capita, the USA spends almost $9000, which is more than any other country in the world. The percentage of health care expenditure in GDP is 17% (“Statistics & facts,” 2014). The main diseases that cause death in the USA are cardiovascular diseases, neoplasms, and neurological disorders.


The Spanish health care system is considered one of the best in the world. The life expectancy rates in Spain are 82.5 years. The mortality rates are approximately 450,000 per year. Regarding health expenditure per capita, it is approximately $3000. The percentage of health care expenditure in GDP is 9.4% (“The healthcare system,” 2016). The main causes of death in terms of illnesses are cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and respiratory infections.

Comparison of countries

Thus, according to the provided statistics, it is evident that the health care system in Spain is better than in the USA. Concerning life expectancy, the difference is also quite significant. Also, the percentage of health care expenditure in GDP in the USA is twice as much as it is in Spain. As for the main diseases that cause death, the picture in both countries is nearly the same.

Health Care Financing

The information provided below focuses on questions of how health care in the analyzed countries is financed. It also contains information about the new Affordable Care Act in the USA.

The United States

Health care institutions in the USA are primarily operated by the private sector. Particularly, 79% of the US’s hospitals are private, and 21% – owned by the government. Public funds are collected through tax revenues, while private funds are collected from employee and employer taxes (“National Center,” 2017). The Affordable Care Act (ACA) allowed covering a higher percentage of the population using expanding Medicaid and Medicare eligibility and making significant changes in individual insurance.

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Health care facilities in Spain are funded primarily by the public sector. Namely, nearly 78% of spending is funded by public sources, whereas 22% are out-of-pocket payments (“The healthcare system,” 2016). The funds are collected through health insurance, and approximately 98% of the population is insured.

Comparison of countries

Thus, in terms of financing, Spain and the USA are very different. Particularly, the US’s 79% of hospitals are operated by the private sector, whereas 78% of hospitals in Spain are operated by the public sector.

Health Care Administration

The provided below information deals with major department agencies. Their primary task is to oversee, regulate, and ensure the provision of health for its citizens.

The United States

Apart from the network of hospitals that provide care for all the citizens, several government agencies provide care for people with special needs (Thoumi et al., 2015). For example, the Veterans Health Administration is for veterans, the Military Health System is for military personnel, the Indian Health Service is for Native Americans, Medicaid is for low-income, disabled, elderly people, and others.


The Ministry of Health, Social Services, and Equality is the main health department in the country that provides equality, social, and health policies (Thoumi et al., 2015). This ministry is divided into several committees that deal with different aspects of health care. Among them are the Public Health Committee, Permanent Pharmacy Committee, Transplant Committee, and so on.

Comparison of countries

Thus, the USA has different departments for people with special needs, whereas Spain has only one main department that provides care for everybody. There is no evidence that the USA’s approach is worse, but it is simply different.

Human Resources

The following information concerns itself with the number of health care professionals in the analyzed countries. There is also information about the number of health care facilities in both countries.

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The United States

Overall, there are approximately 5,600 health care facilities in the country. Among them, nearly 4,900 are community hospitals. The number of physicians is slightly over one million, and the number of nurses is almost three million.


The number of hospitals in Spain is nearly 1,500 units (Thoumi et al., 2015). The number of physicians is approximately 200,000, and the number of nurses is almost 300,000.

Comparison of countries

The proportion of health care professionals and facilities and the overall population is approximately the same in both countries. This means that the USA’s health care system is worse not because of the problem with human resources.


Thus, according to the statistics, in the USA, 88% of the population is insured, while in Spain, it is 98%. Regarding health disparities, the index in the USA is one of the biggest in the world, whereas, in Spain, it is minimal. In the US, it mostly concerns ethnic, immigrant, and low-income groups, while in Spain, it concerns only the latter (Thoumi et al., 2015). Thus, overall, health care provision in Spain is better and more efficient.


National Center for Health Statistics. (2017). Web.

Statistics & facts on U.S. physicians/doctors. (2014). Web.

The healthcare system in Spain. (2016). Web.

Thoumi, A., Drobnick, E., & McClellan, M. B. (2015). What can the U.S. health system learn from Spain? Web.

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