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US health care system performs poorly

Written by Diane Archer

In a new report released by the Commonwealth Fund, authors Karen Davis and others find that compared to other developed and wealthy countries, the United States’ health care system performs extremely poorly.  What’s noteworthy is that the United States has the most expensive health care system in the world.

And, this is not the first year that the Commonwealth Fund has ranked the United States lower than the other 10 countries it studied.In 2010, 2007, 2006, and 2004, The Commonwealth Fund also ranked the United States’ health care system as the poorest performer overall.  Of particular note, the United States is at the bottom of the pack when it comes to health outcomes.  The United States is also at or very near the bottom of the list on access, equity and efficiency.

The United States health care system ranked third among the 11 countries, its highest score, for “effective care.”Australia, Germany, France and the Netherlands, Canada and the United Kingdom, all of which have national health insurance for their entire population, rank ahead of the United States.  The United Kingdom performs highest, with Switzerland right behind it.

According to the authors, “Other nations ensure the accessibility of care through universal health systems and through better ties between patients and the physician practices that serve as their medical homes,”The report does not compare any of the individual health care systems in the United States, such as Medicare or Medicaid, with the universal systems in the other countries.  So, there’s no way to know how Medicare or Medicaid perform on health outcomes, access, equity and efficiency based on this study relative to the other countries analyzed.

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