U.S. Health Care Ranked Dead Last Compared to 10 Countries
When compared to ten other countries, which you think we would at least hold our own against, we ranked dead last when comparing health care systems and their efficacy. According to the Commonwealth Fund in their latest report “Mirror, Mirror On The Wall — 2014 Update” (PDF here), Americans are getting some of the shoddiest health care around. Is it true?
We have the most expensive health care system in the world, but it is far from the best. Consider these 10 countries that are doing a better job spending less money:
- 1. United Kingdom
- 2. Switzerland
- 3. Sweden
- 4. Australia
- 5. 6. Germany & Netherlands (tied)
- 7. 8. New Zealand & Norway (tied)
- 9. France
- 10. Canada
- 11. United States
The Commonwealth Fund report is brief – only 32 pages long – but it uses data previously compiled from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to paint a dire picture for the US healthcare system.
The US system of care was compared to those of other countries utilizing the following criteria:
- Effective care
- Safe care
- Coordinated care
- Patient-centered care
Despite the fact that we now have ‘universal care,’ otherwise known as Obamacare, U.S. citizens go without the care they need more often than people in 10 other countries. That means that as we spend trillions on care, several million people aren’t even being addressed. We may be effective at treating people in emergency situations, but improvement is needed overall.
Not surprising, people with means get better care than people who don’t have money. One-third or more, lower-income adults in the U.S. said they went without needed care because of costs in the past year.
The U.S. also ranks poorly in three telling factors regarding human health: mortality amenable to medical care, infant mortality, and healthy life expectancy at age 60. France, Sweden, and Switzerland far exceeded our standards in these areas.
Our efficiency scores are atrocious too. Due to our bloated administrative costs, emergency room use, and duplicate medical testing, we waste money on healthcare beaurocracy instead of providing actual care.
The bottom line is this – government run healthcare is not Universal healthcare, and this is still something that many other industrialized nations are able to provide for their people at a cost which doesn’t bankrupt their countries. As long as our government is allowed to run services that are as important as healthcare, and our government is overrun with special interests, then we are doomed to low quality care at inflated prices. It’s like ordering a fast food meal and paying a 5-star restaurant price for it, even when you are ordering your health care ala carte.
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.