In the previous edition of U.S. Health Care from a Global Perspective, we reported that people in the United States experience the worst health outcomes overall of any high-income nation.1 Americans are more likely to die younger, and from avoidable causes, than residents of peer countries.

Between January 2020 and December 2021, life expectancy dropped in the U.S. and other countries.2 With the pandemic a continuing threat to global health and well-being, we have updated our 2019 cross-national comparison of health care systems to assess U.S. health spending, outcomes, status, and service use relative to Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. We also compare U.S. health system performance to the OECD average for the 38 high-income countries for which data are available. The data for our analysis come from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and other international sources (see “How We Conducted This Study” for details).

For every metric we examine, we used the latest data available. This means that results for certain countries may reflect the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when mental health conditions were surging, essential health services were disrupted, and patients may not have received the same level of care.3