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11th out of 11

from David Ruccio

Davis_Mirror_2014_ES1_for_web

The U.S. healthcare system ranks dead last out of 11 countries studied by the Commonwealth Fund [ht: ja].

The United States health care system is the most expensive in the world, but this report and prior editions consistently show the U.S. underperforms relative to other countries on most dimensions of performance. 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 editions of Mirror, Mirror. Most troubling, the U.S. fails to achieve better health outcomes than the other countries, and as shown in the earlier editions, the U.S. is last or near last on dimensions of access, efficiency, and equity. In this edition of Mirror, Mirror, the United Kingdom ranks first, followed closely by Switzerland. . .

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 Affordable Care Act is increasing the number of Americans with coverage and improving access to care, though the data in this report are from years prior to the full implementation of the law. Thus, it is not surprising that the U.S. underperforms on measures of access and equity between populations with above- average and below-average incomes.

The U.S. also ranks behind most countries on many measures of health outcomes, quality, and efficiency. 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 systems. Additional provisions in the Affordable Care Act will further encourage the efficient organization and delivery of health care, as well as investment in important preventive and population health measures.

  1. June 28, 2014 at 4:05 am

    Concentration of power increases risk to society. In America, power is concentrated in a collusive structure between corrupt government officials, bankers and other oligarchs. Like the financial system, the US health system is just another institution to enable the looting of public finances. Medicare and Medicaid are set up for fraud:

    http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21603078-why-thieves-love-americas-health-care-system-272-billion-swindle

    The reason the system continues to exist, despite protests, is that the politicians and regulators are part of the scam, just like some police running drug rings.

    Things have gotten worse after the crisis because governments are given more power to create opportunities for more politicians and their cronies to loot the system. The US healthcare system is not only the most expensive, but creates one of the most unhealthy populations in the developed world.

    Economic discussions on capitalism versus socialism, stimulus versus austerity, etc, miss the point completely – economic processes do not work perfectly in a way they are assumed in textbook theory. Most economic ideas are simply not robust enough to work, even with minor imperfections. We need real economic theories to understand the real world.

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