US healthcare system ranks 50th out of 55 countries for efficiency

The U.S. healthcare system is one of the least efficient in the world, ranking 50th out of 55 countries in 2014, according to the Bloomberg Health-Care Efficiency Index.

The index, which was created in 2012, assesses life expectancy, healthcare spending per capita and relative spending as share of gross domestic product.

Hong Kong was ranked the most efficient country, with Singapore, Spain, South Korea and Japan rounding out the top five. Among these countries, average spending per capita was $2,638 and average life expectancy was about 83 years, according to Bloomberg.

At the other end of the spectrum, Russia's healthcare system was ranked the least efficient. Brazil, Azerbaijan, Columbia and Jordan were also at the bottom of the list. Among these countries, spending per capita was $2,525 on average and average life expectancy was about 73 years.  

The U.S. barely escaped the bottom five, with average spending per capita of $9,403, slightly more than 17 percent of GDP. Average life expectancy in the U.S. was 78.9 years.

According to Bloomberg, it's difficult to assess the ACA's effect on cost per capita for 2014. Because insured people use more healthcare services than those without insurance, expanding coverage under the ACA may cause spending per capita to increase over time, according to the report. 

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