US Health Care Ranks Last in Commonwealth Fund Study

Jun 27th, 2010 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: Social Security & Medicare

The Commonwealth Fund is “…a private foundation that aims to promote a high performing health care system that achieves better access, improved quality, and greater efficiency, particularly for society’s most vulnerable”.  All senior citizens on Medicare would do well to review this web site carefully.

A recent report from this US private foundation selected six countries and reviewed their national health care systems in comparison to that of the United States.  It is something they do every three years.  The six countries are Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.  The dimensions of care included quality, access, efficiency, equity, long/healthy/productive lives, and health expenditures per capita.  The United States came in last on almost every dimension of care.  Take a look at the chart and see for yourselves.  The United States came in #7 overall of seven countries reviewed.  And the cost of health care per capita in the US far exceeded that of any other country reviewed, $7290.  The next highest figure (per capita) was Canada coming in at $3895, just a few hundred dollars short of half of the US figure.

What this study tells us is that, the United States health care system is the most expensive in the world, and it consistently underperforms that of other countries in studies such as the one Commonwealth conducted. 

There is something wrong with this picture.  And it is just possible the new health care reform law can make some corrections that will provide better health care at less cost.

One conclusion of the Commonwealth Fund’s report is that “… newly enacted health reform legislation in the U.S. will start to address these problems by extending coverage to those without and helping to close gaps in coverage—leading to improved disease management, care coordination, and better outcomes over time.”  Some senior citizens continue to disapprove of the PPACA (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act), based on the cost primarily.  But when juxtaposed with the results of the Commonwealth study, we retirees would do well to take a step back, give it some time and determine if in fact our health care improves and we pay less for it.  If that happens, the cost concerns will be rendered null.



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