Here’s a chart that Matt Yglesias thinks ought to dominate the healthcare conversation. It compares PPP adjusted per capita government* spending on healthcare in the US and in Canada.
When I saw it this morning, I thought that it looks a lot like productivity, which could be consistent with the idea that the US is richer than Canada and that countries spend more on healthcare as they get richer (Hall & Jones). But the evidence for that is less than clear cut (e.g. Acemoglu , Finkelstein, and Notowidigdo) – another story is that productivity in some sectors is driving up healthcare costs (Baumol’s cost disease), and that the US is more productive than Canada. In other words, this picture could simply reflect productivity differences across the two countries. I very quickly pulled some data together from the first site I found on google with productivity data and put together this chart of output per worker (which ignores capital and factor quality differences) and it looks a lot like Matt’s chart.