U.S. healthcare ranks dead last among wealthy countries

Healthcare ranks dead

U.S. healthcare has a lot in common with the national soccer team; it may not be the worst in the world but it still fails to crack the top ten. And when a study analyzes 11 wealthy nations and you’re not in the top ten that means you’re last. That is in a nutshell what the Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, 2014 Update: How the U.S. Health Care System Compares Internationally by the Commonwealth Fund says. If that weren’t bad enough, the United States spends more in healthcare than the other ten countries and yet doesn’t have much to show for it.

Country

Overall ranking

Expenditure per capita*

United Kingdom

1

$3,405

Switzerland

2

$5,643

Sweden

3

$3,925

Australia

4

$3,800

Germany

5

$4,495

The Netherlands

6

$5,099

New Zealand

7

$3,182

Norway

8

$5,669

France

9

$4,118

Canada

10

$4,522

United States of America

11

$8,508

*Calculated in $US PPP (purchasing power parity).

The overall ranking was based on the following individual indicators:

  • Quality care
  • Effective care
  • Safe care
  • Coordinated care
  • Patient centered care
  • Access
  • Cost-related problems
  • Timeliness of care
  • Efficiency
  • Equity
  • Healthy lives

The United States ranked last in four of those indicators, and could only make the top five in another four.

Indicator

Definition

U.S. Ranking

Effective care

Effective and appropriate services for the prevention or treatment of a given condition and the control of chronic illness.

3

Patient centered care

Care delivered with the patient’s needs and preferences in mind.

4

Quality care

Comprises effective, safe, coordinated, and patient-centered care.

5

Timeliness of care

Rapid access (same or next day) to primary care.

5

Coordinate care

Helps to ensure appropriate follow-up treatment, minimize the risk of error, and prevent complications.

6

Safe care

Avoiding injuries to patients from the care that is intended to help them.

7

Access

Affordable care and timely attention.

9

Cost-related problems

Access problems because of cost.

11

Efficiency

Maximization of care quality and outcomes given the resources committed, while ensuring that additional investments yield net value over time.

11

Equity

Providing care that does not vary in quality because of gender, ethnicity, geographic location, and socioeconomic status.

11

Healthy lives

Ensure that people lead long, healthy, and productive lives.

11

 

According to the report, the main difference between the United States and the other developed countries is the lack of universal healthcare insurance coverage, which is one of the reasons for the advent of the Affordable Care Act -otherwise known as Obamacare. Time will tell whether the healthcare reform will be able to break the U.S. healthcare losing streak in the near future. Historically, the United States have constantly ranked last in the Commonwealth Fund report, regardless of the number of countries studied.

Year

Rankings

2004

1.       New Zealand

2.       Australia

3.       UK

4.       Canada

5.US

2006

1.       Germany

2.       New Zealand

3.       UK

4.       Australia

5.       Canada

6.US

2007

1.       UK

2.       Germany

3.       Australia

4.       New Zealand

5.       Canada

6.US

2010

1.       Netherlands

2.       UK

3.       Australia

4.       Germany

5.       New Zealand

6.       Canada

7.US

Unlike soccer though, the good ol’ U.S. of A. can’t take solace in the fact that at least they are better than Canada.