Health care cost increases in the United States were similar to increases in other countries in 2006, according to figures from the Organisation for Co-operation and Development.

OECD, Paris, has published public and total health cost expenditure figures for 2006 and earlier years in its 2009 fact book.

The OECD expresses the expenditures as a share of the member country’s gross domestic product.

OEC figures show that U.S. health care costs grew rapidly in terms of share of GDP in the 1980s and 1990s but have leveled off in the 2000s.

Between 2005 and 2006, the share of U.S. GDP going to health care increased just 0.1 percentage points, or 0.7%, to 15.3%, while the OECD-wide average increased 0.8%, to 9%, according to OECD figures.

The United States was one of about 13 OECD member countries that reported that total health spending took up roughly the same share of GDP in 2006 as in 2005.

Seven countries reported significant growth in GDP costs, and 11 reported decreases.

Between 2000 and 2006, the share of U.S. GDP going to health care increased about 16%; the average increase for OECD countries as a whole was about 15%.