Doc, tell me something I don't already know

The Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation promoting "a high performing health care system that achieves better access, improved quality, and greater efficiency," published a study today on America's poor but expensive healthcare system:
Despite having the most costly health system in the world, the United States consistently underperforms on most dimensions of performance, relative to other countries.
America ranked last or next to last compared with Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, the United Kingdom in the five areas Commonwealth considers important to high performance health care: quality, access, efficiency, equity, and healthy lives.
The U.S. is the only country in the study without universal health insurance coverage, partly accounting for its poor performance on access, equity, and health outcomes. The inclusion of physician survey data also shows the U.S. lagging in adoption of information technology and use of nurses to improve care coordination for the chronically ill.
...the U.S. scores particularly poorly on its ability to promote healthy lives, and on the provision of care that is safe and coordinated, as well as accessible, efficient, and equitable.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: An International Update on the Comparative Performance of American Health Care
(May 2007, pdf, 40pp/522kB)

Executive Summary (html)



Anonymous Tom said...

Interesting that the US has the most costly health service in the world - I would have thought that title would have gone to a nation with a nationalised health service where all treatments are paid for by the state.

Anonymous Manuel said...

I moved to germany two years ago, and I must admit, that the health care system here is more effective then in the USA. But the downside is that I have to pay the insurance company almost $300 a month.

Anonymous z54 said...

It is an interesting study.

I have not read up on the subject enough to make any suggestions as to which type of healthcare system would be better: universal, or managed.

Having options is something of which I am personally supportive, though, in a system where the bottom line is tantamount to what kind of treatment someone gets, those options are only open to a select group.

What really has me wondering about any such studies is the collection of information to support the study. In universal healthcare, what determines if the patient has recieved proper care vs in a managed care system?

Although universal healthcare is something I would personally like to have, especially in a country where the rift between have and have-not is increasing, I still like the idea of options. As I don't know what kind of options universal healthcare offers, I can't specifically comment, but I would suspect that 'approved' courses of treatment would be the only available road to take. Though I may not be able to afford an option, it is more desirable to have it available, than not.

Overall, though, I would prefer to weigh the options. Making sacrifices for myself so someone who otherwise could not afford good healthcare (like it could be found readily anyway) can get it makes it worthwhile, in my opinion, to lose a few options.


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