US vs. Swedish Healthcare System Comparison

Even though both the United States and Sweden are comparatively wealthy states (Garfinkel, 2010), there are considerable differences between the approaches adopted towards healthcare in Sweden and U. S., which can be traced by comparing the statistical data for each state with the help of Multinational comparisons of health systems data (Squires, 2012).

To start with, in the USA, more money is spent annually per capita on healthcare and the related issue than in Sweden ($8.233 as opposed to $3.758). A part of GDP, the healthcare spending in the U.S. also leaves Sweden far behind, with 17.6% vs. 9.6%. When it comes to healthcare spending per capita in relation to the source of funding, the Swedish healthcare system comes as a close second after the one of the USA, with $8.233 (USA) vs. $5.269 (Sweden). As for pharmaceutical spending, the USA also takes first place ($983), while Sweden seems to be on the opposite side of the scale ($474) (Squires, 2012).

When it comes to healthcare supply and utilization, the differences between the two states become more obvious. In 2010, the hospital discharges in Sweden made 163 people in one year, while in the United States, 240 people were discharged in one year. The given difference, however, can also be attributed to the gap between the U.S. and Sweden population (308,745,538 and 9,500,000 people correspondingly, as Statistics Sweden (2011, February 18) states). Both Swedes and Americans prefer not to stay in hospitals for too long (4.7 and 5.0 days correspondingly), visit physicians very often (3.8 visits in U.S. and 2.9 visits in Sweden made annually), and have quite a few acute hospital beds (2.0 (U.S.) and 2.6 (Sweden) on the average). However, in contrast to Sweden, the U.S. healthcare has almost 1.5 times fewer practicing physicians (2.6 per 1,000 people compared to 3.8 in Sweden) and 1.5 times fewer impatient coronary bypass procedures (76 vs. 43) (Squires, 2012).

In terms of health promotion and disease prevention, the differences are not that drastic. 64.0% of the U.S. adult population and 63.9% adults in Sweden received flu immunization in 2010. Both states also have the least number of reported smoking adults (15.1 for the U.S. and 14.0 for Sweden). In contrast to Sweden, though (12.9%), obesity seems a basic health concern for U.S. residents (39.5%). Speaking of services quality and patient safety, death rates in Sweden make 61 per 100,000 people, which is 36% lower than in the U.S.; however, if comparing the changes in the death rates, Sweden has progressed by 45% compared to the U.S. over the past decade. There are more breast cancer survivals in the U.S. than in Sweden, though (86% vs. 83.3%). The diabetes amputation rates are comparatively higher in the U.S., though (33.7 vs. 5.7 in Sweden). As for in-hospital mortality, both Sweden and the USA show quite low scores (2.9 and 4.3). Swedish surgeons tend to forget foreign objects in their patients’ bodies less often (2.6 vs. 49 in the USA), and their surgeries result in 151 cases of sepsis less than in the United States (Squires, 2012).

Last, but definitely not the least, the financial aspect seems to be less complicated in Sweden than it is in the U.S. As the chart shows, hospital spending per discharge is at the highest rate in the United States ($19,319), while Sweden population spends approximately $9,990 per discharge annually, as per the 2010 survey data (Squires, 2012).

With that being said, it can be assumed that the U.S. healthcare system is less flexible that the one of Sweden. However, it is also worth noting that that United States, rates of diabetes and mortality are considerably higher, which can probably be attributed to the lack of awareness of the issue (Squires, 2012).

Reference List

Garfinkel, I. (2010). Wealth and welfare states. Web.

Squires, D. (2012). Multinational comparisons of health systems data. PDF file. 2013.

Statistics Sweden (2011). Sweden’s population nearing 9.5 million. Web.

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NursingBird. (2023, July 15). US vs. Swedish Healthcare System Comparison. Retrieved from


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"US vs. Swedish Healthcare System Comparison." NursingBird, 15 July 2023,


NursingBird. (2023) 'US vs. Swedish Healthcare System Comparison'. 15 July.


NursingBird. 2023. "US vs. Swedish Healthcare System Comparison." July 15, 2023.

1. NursingBird. "US vs. Swedish Healthcare System Comparison." July 15, 2023.


NursingBird. "US vs. Swedish Healthcare System Comparison." July 15, 2023.