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US Healthcare System Ranks Dead Last Among Rich Nations

By    |   Monday, 16 Jun 2014 04:52 PM

The U.S. healthcare system has once again placed dead last in a new ranking of the care provided in the world's wealthiest nations.
 
Even though Americans spend up to twice as much as much per person on healthcare than any other nation in the world, the new report — by the Commonwealth Fund, a nonpartisan healthcare research organization — United States residents are generally less healthy than those living in 10 other affluent nations.
 
Researchers said the U.S. system is less efficient and less fair, compared to other rich countries, based on an analysis of health information from the World Health Organization.
 
"Among the 11 nations studied in this report — Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States — the U.S. ranks last, as it did in the 2010, 2007, 2006, and 2004 [rankings]," the report concluded.
 
"Most troubling, the U.S. fails to achieve better health outcomes than the other countries, and as shown in the earlier [Commonwealth Fund reports], the U.S. is last or near last on dimensions of access, efficiency, and equity … the United Kingdom ranks first, followed closely by Switzerland."
 
Among the report's key findings:
  • Americans with below-average incomes are much more likely than those in other countries to report not visiting a physician when sick; not getting a recommended test, treatment, or follow-up care; or not filling a prescription or skipping doses when needed because of costs.
  • The U.S. ranks behind most countries on many measures of health outcomes, quality, and efficiency. In part, that's because the U.S. does not have the kind of universal health system common in most wealthy nations, which encourages "better ties between patients and the physician practices that serve as their medical homes."
  • Researchers noted the Affordable Care Act aims to increase the number of Americans with coverage and improve access to care, but the latest study does not reflect whether those goals have been, or are likely to be, achieved.
  • U.S. physicians face particular difficulties receiving timely information, coordinating care, and dealing with administrative hassles. "Other countries have led in the adoption of modern health information systems, but U.S. physicians and hospitals are catching up as they respond to significant financial incentives to adopt and make meaningful use of health information technology," the researchers concluded.
  • The other 10 countries spend considerably less on healthcare per person and as a percent of gross domestic product than does the United States.

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The American healthcare system has once again placed dead last in a new ranking of the care provided in the world's wealthiest nations, even though the U.S. spend up to twice as much as much per person on healthcare than any other nation in the world.
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Monday, 16 Jun 2014 04:52 PM
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