US Health Care Ranks Dead Last in International Survey

Photo (cc) by StockMonkeys.com

Mirror, mirror on the wall. Who has the worst health care system of them all? Sadly, the United States.

That’s right. For the fifth time in the past 10 years, the U.S. has the dubious distinction of ranking dead last when it comes to the “efficiency, equity, and outcomes” of its health care system, compared with 10 other industrialized countries.

A recent health care survey entitled “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, 2014 Update,” by The Commonwealth Fund, said the U.S. has the most expensive, but least effective health care system. According to Forbes:

It’s fairly well accepted that the U.S. is the most expensive health care system in the world, but many continue to falsely assume that we pay more for health care because we get better health (or better health outcomes). The evidence, however, clearly doesn’t support that view.

The rankings are:

  1. United Kingdom
  2. Switzerland
  3. Sweden
  4. Australia
  5. Germany and Netherlands (tied)
  6. New Zealand and Norway (tied)
  7. France
  8. Canada
  9. United States.

The Commonwealth Fund survey said the U.S. has a long list of deficiencies, including:

  • Access. The U.S. has a large number of people who don’t get necessary care because of the cost.
  • Efficiency. The U.S. ranks last here because of a number of issues, including high administrative costs, avoidable emergency room use, and duplicative testing.
  • Equity. Again, the U.S. was in last place because low-income Americans often go without needed medical treatment due to cost.
  • Healthy lives. The U.S. was in last place in this category as well, scoring poorly in infant mortality, healthy life expectancy, and an excessive number of deaths from conditions that could have been controlled, such as high blood pressure.

The survey said:

The most notable way the U.S. differs from other industrialized countries is the absence of universal health insurance coverage. 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 U.S. did score well in providing patient-centered care and preventive care.

The data for the report was collected and analyzed before Obamacare went into full effect. Could that help move the U.S. health care system out of last place? Maybe.

“The problems of our health care system remain so pervasive that it will take more than better access and equity to resolve them,” The Washington Post said.

Are you surprised that the U.S. health care system ranked dead last? Share your thoughts below or on our Facebook page.

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