released its latest report on how the healthcare system in the United States compares to other industrialized countries. It's not good. In fact, its terrible.
It's hard to fathom just how poorly our system works, especially given the sky-high price we all pay for less than full access and questionable results. Ranking worst out of the eleven countries reviewed in 6 of the 12 categories considered. (Cost-related issues re: access, efficiency, equity, healthy lives, health expenditures per capita and overall ranking.)
In the other categories, (quality care: effective care, safe care, patient centered care and access: timeliness of care) we ranked in the middle somewhere.
In no category did the US rank in the top two.
Who came in first?
The NHS from the United Kingdom, which is socialized medicine.
Conservatives in America will likely point to the report as reason to move toward a more "free market/less government involvement" style of health care delivery. While such a response has far more to do with politics than it does with sound, evidence based delivery of health care, it also defies common sense.
The US system is a blend of free market private and/or employer based health insurance combined with a social safety net combination of medicare for people 65 and older and medicaid for the disabled, children, pregnant women and the very, very poor.
None of the countries in the report has as small an amount of government involvement as the US does. Put another way, all of the countries in the report - who all fared batter than the US does - have a higher level of government interaction in their HC delivery than we do.
The answer to our health care issues is not less government involvement. We need more.The rest of the world has figured this out. Except us.
Before anyone accuses me of being a socialist or anti-american, we should be copying our friends in Europe and Asia who have devised an effective system of a strong, comprehensive government provided or administered system that covers all citizens for basic health care needs. Complimenting that foundation is a robust private market that competes for consumer dollars by offering supplemental and additional levels of insurance and benefits.
As the report indicates, the data used for this study do not yet take the effect of the Affordable Care Act into consideration. Going forward, its expected the United States will perform better in areas like access.
Unless, of course, a Republican President and Republican controlled Congress would repeal it.
Other coverage of the Commonwealth Fund's report can be found here, here, here and here...
NOTE #1: I attempted to provide a link to Fox News.com's coverage of this story and none was to be found on their homepage, on their "health" page or the "US News" page. Likewise, I found nothing on the Newsmax.com website either.
NOTE #2: Our talented friends over at the Incidental Economist have a related column up on their website. Its worth a visit. You can find it here: Zombie arguments defending the US healthcare system....