There is a really fantastic article in the Washington Post about why American's spend so much on healthcare. The article provides data from the International Federation of Health
Plans, on the prices of healthcare items.
There is a simple explanation for why American health care costs so much more than health care in any other country: because we pay so much more for each unit of care. …if you leave everything else
the same — the volume of procedures, the days we spend in the
hospital, the number of surgeries we need — but plug in the prices
Canadians pay, our health-care spending falls by about 50 percent.
My favorite quote in the article talks about a key missing component to the healthcare reform debate – price:
The health-care reform debate has done a good job avoiding the subject
of prices. The argument over the Medicare-attached public plan was, in
a way that most people didn't understand, an argument about prices, but
it quickly became an argument about a public option without a
pricing dimension, and never really looked back. A health-care debate in this country that isn't aware of the price
differential is not an informed debate.
There are some great graphs in the article. Look at this one on the cost of hospitals stays in the U.S.
Here is a link to all the data graphs from the article on the IFHP Comparative Price Report (.pdf download).