bill-nj asks:

The Incidental Economist has a chart posted 7/19 showing a linear relationship on a log-log graph between per-capita health care expenditures and per-capita GDP. But it only shows data for the US. Numerous other charts have shown how the US health care spending is out of whack with the rest of the world — but how do other countries show on the log-log chart? Are they still on the same straight line, but with smaller GDP and therefore smaller healthcare expenditures?

Just so we’re all on the same page, here’s the chart that friend-of-the-blog Austin Frakt of the Incidental Economist posted, taken from Robert Woodward and Le Wang’s paper “The Oh-So Straight and Narrow Path: Can the Health Care Expenditure Curve Be Bent?”:


The graph indicates that health-care costs per capita have been growing exponentially relative to the size of the economy. It has a slope of 1.388, meaning that’s how much per-capita health-care costs increase relative to GDP per capita each year. The graphs for other countries are also straight, as shown in this one I threw together based on OECD data for the Netherlands — which I chose because of its health-care model’s resemblance to the Affordable Care Act:



This post of Ezra’s has more detail on exactly how out of the ordinary America’s rate of health- care cost growth is.