U.S. Health Care System Ranked Last on List of Developed Nations
Analysts with the Commonwealth Fund, a New York-based foundation focused on improving health care, have released its latest list comparing the health care systems of developed nations. After taking into account several factors, such as cost and level of care, the report ranked the United States dead last out of a list of 11.
"Although the U.S. spends more on health care than any other country and has the highest proportion of specialist physicians, survey findings indicate that from the patients' perspective, and based on outcome indicators, the performance of American health care is severely lacking," the report concluded according to the Washington Post.
For this research, the team analyzed the health care systems from 11 developed countries, which included Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. The team examined measures of "efficiency, equity, and outcomes," and gave the U.S. an overall ranking of 11. The UK and Sweden took first and second place respectively.
"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 Fund wrote regarding the latest Mirror, Mirror edition reported by USA Today.
The experts cautioned that the data used for the 2014 report did not take into account the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which has provided greater access to health insurance for many citizens. Regardless of the latest reform, the experts sated that the U.S. has made the least progress. In the 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2010 Commonwealth Mirror, Mirror reports, the U.S. was ranked last, while other nations improved upon their ranking and scores.
"I think there are some areas where the ACA is going to make a really big difference," said Timothy Jost, a health policy expert at Washington and Lee University School of Law who has testified to Congress in support of the law according to the Washington Times.
Based on individual scores, the U.S's best ranking, at third place, was for effective care. The U.S. also fared relatively well, coming in fourth place for patient-centered care. However, the U.S. received poor rankings for other aspects, such as access to care and health expenditures, spending the most at $8,508 per capita.
The full report, "Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, 2014 Update: How the U.S. Health Care System Compares Internationally," can be found here.