US Health Care System Ranks Last in 11 Industrialized Countries Comparison

As reported in The Guardian, the Washington-based organization Commonwealth Fund has issued a new report analyzing the performance of healthcare systems in 11 industrialized countries.

The report is based on patients’ and physicians’ survey results on care experiences and ratings on various dimensions of care, as well as information from the most recent three Commonwealth Fund international surveys of patients and primary care physicians about medical practices and views of their countries’ health systems (2011–2013), information on health care outcomes featured in The Commonwealth Fund’s most recent (2011) national health system scorecard, and data from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).  All data were gathered before the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in the U.S.

The data show that the U.S. ranks last among the 11 industrialized nations studied in the report—Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.  The United Kingdom and Switzerland take first and second place, while spending significantly less on health care per person and as a percent of gross domestic product than does the United States.

The analysis indicates that the U.S. is last or near last on dimensions of access, efficiency, and equity (which is not surprising considering the U.S. is the only country in the study that does not provide universal health coverage), and also ranks behind most countries on many measures of health outcomes, quality, and efficiency.

The report concludes that, overall,
"these results indicate a consistent relationship between how a country performs in terms of equity and how patients rate other dimensions of performance: the lower the performance score for equity, the lower the performance on other measures. This suggests that, when a country fails to meet the needs of the most vulnerable, it also fails to meet needs for the average citizen. Rather than regarding performance on equity as a separate and lesser concern, the U.S. should devote far greater attention to building a health system that works well for all Americans. Indeed, a Commonwealth Fund State Scorecard comparing access, quality, and health outcomes for lower-income individuals finds that the gap between the average performance of lagging and leading states would be substantially reduced by raising standards of care and improving access for those in the bottom half of the income distribution."
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Frederique Laubepin


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  2. The Commonwealth Fund’s most recent (2011) national health system scorecard, and data from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). All data were gathered before the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in the U.S. garcinina cambogia

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