While the U.S. tops the rest of the world as having the most expensive health system, we come in last or second-to-last in the more important categories of quality, access, efficiency, equity, and healthy lives. This is according to a report published today by The Commonwealth Fund called How the Performance of the U.S. Health Care System Compares Internationally, which compared the U.S. with six other nations — Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom — on care experiences and ratings on dimensions of care.
The most troubling result of the report, according to the researchers, is that “the U.S. is last on dimensions of access, patient safety, coordination, efficiency, and equity.” The Netherlands ranks first is those categories.
The study notes that the recent health reform law may increase the outcomes of the U.S. in certain categories. “The most notable way the U.S. differs from other countries is the absence of universal health insurance coverage. Health reform legislation recently signed into law by President Barack Obama should begin to improve the affordability of insurance and access to care when fully implemented in 2014. Other nations ensure the accessibility of care through universal health insurance systems and through better ties between patients and the physician practices that serve as their long-term “medical homes.” Without reform, it is not surprising that the U.S. currently underperforms relative to other countries on measures of access to care and equity in health care between populations with above-average and below-average incomes.”
Continue the executive summary at The Commonwealth Fund.