HAVANA – What Cuba says it spends on medical services is a fraction of what it costs hospitals to provide the same services in the United States. A comparison of some medical procedures in the two countries:
— Cost per day for inpatient hospital stay: $5.49 in Cuba; $1,994 in the U.S.
— Inpatient hernia surgery: $14.59 in Cuba; $12,489 in the U.S.
— Hip-fracture repair: $72.15 in Cuba; $14,263 in the U.S.
— Kidney transplant: $4,902 in Cuba; $48,758 in the U.S.
Cuban authorities did not reveal how they calculated their figures, but said careful study was involved.
While some medical goods are imported, Cuba produces many medicines and labor costs are significantly lower than in the United States, with one doctor saying Cuban specialists earn $25 a month.
Cuban patients also often bring their own sterile bed sheets, hypodermic needles, food and water.
Note: U.S. costs are from 2009. Sources: Granma; Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Cuban figures rely on the official currency exchange rate of 24 Cuban pesos to $1, though officials have never clarified whether that rate can be applied to interpret economic data.