Do American and Swiss patients get what they pay for?

“Do American and Swiss patients get what they pay for?”
Published 16 Nov 2017 |
by Tony Ganzer and Geraldine Wong Sak Hoi

“Health care doesn’t come cheap in the United States or Switzerland, and depending on your situation, the bill can vary widely. Are Americans and the Swiss getting top-quality care for their money?

Several readers wanted to know how much residents in the two countries pay for health care, in terms of public and private contributions, and whether the quality of care justifies the costs.

We’ve already given a primer on the health care systems in each country, and how many different insurance options US residents have depending on how much they make, what they do, and how old they are.

What does it cost, and why?

US healthcare spending is a whopping 17% of GDP, or more than $9,000 per capita. (Some estimates put the cost per person over $10,000).  By comparison, Switzerland spends about 12% of GDP, at more than $6,300 per capita.

One reason for the higher cost in the US is that variety in coverage we mentioned before.  With so many different insurance options and programs, there are lots of opportunities for increased administrative costs, and variety in how people might interact with health care services. It’s more expensive for someone to just go to an emergency room than deal with a doctor visit, for example.  The EMTALA Act requires that the public have access to emergency care regardless of ability to pay. But that was meant to enable a patient to be stabilized and not as a general health care solution.

In some ways the Swiss health care system before reform looked a lot like the core of the US system. What changes did Switzerland make?

The biggest reasons for higher health care costs in the US might be linked to two things: prices and patients.”

Read the full article at

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