California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom responded to President Trump on Twitter Monday over his claims on universal health care.
Newsom, who supports universal health care and is running for governor, said the U.S. is already paying the price of universal health care, without the benefits.
Wrong. No country in the world pays more per capita for healthcare and receives less than the United States. We’re paying the price tag of a universal healthcare system without receiving the benefits. We can’t afford NOT to make a change. https://t.co/fK1xLj3w3y— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) February 5, 2018
The claim that "no country in the world pays more per capita for health care and receives less than the United States" stood out to us in particular.
Does the U.S. really pay the most for health care -- and receive the least?
Newsom spokesman Dan Newman pointed us to a couple news articles on the topic.
The Los Angeles Times cites 2015 data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, an intergovernmental group.
Their data also shows that the U.S. has the largest per capita health care spending.
Moreover, in 2013, according to European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies data, the U.S. led among deaths from preventable complications/diseases if adequate health care was available.
Health care use
OECD spokesman Spencer Wilson said the first part of Newsom's claim on per capita spending is accurate, based on November 2017 data, the latest available. But also notes that the U.S. receiving less in health care "is too vague to give a concrete answer to."
"The experts here say that the USA is clearly not last among OECD countries (let alone among all the countries around the world) in terms of health care resources available or the services received by Americans," said Wilson.
For example, when it comes to diagnostic and surgical procedures such as MRI exams and knee replacements, our health care system actually provides more of these services than most countries.
We also reached out to Eric Schneider, Senior Vice President for Policy and Research at The Commonwealth Fund, a foundation that advocates for better health care access.
He did not comment on Newsom's claim specifically, but said it's difficult to summarize health care use among countries because Americans are more likely to use one service compared to another service, such as doctor visits.
Bottom line, Newsom's claim is partially verified but needs additional context.
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom's tweet, Feb. 5, 2018
Dan Newman, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom's spokesman
Los Angeles Times, "The U.S. spends more on healthcare than any other country -- but not with better health outcomes," July 18, 2017
Spencer Wilson, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development spokesman
Eric Schneider, Senior Vice President for Policy and Research, The Commonwealth Fund
DATA: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, "Health at a Glance 2017," accessed Feb. 6, 2018