U.S. Health Care System Ranked Last Again: Report

From the WebMD Archives

June 18, 2014 -- The United States' health system once again comes in last when compared to 10 other rich nations, according to the latest Commonwealth Fund report on the issue.

The nonprofit group said that while Americans spend much more per person on medical care, they are less healthy than people in the other nations. In addition, the U.S. health care system is less fair and efficient than those in the other 10 countries, NBC News reported.

"Among the 11 nations studied in this report -- Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States -- the U.S. ranks last, as it did in the 2010, 2007, 2006, and 2004 editions," the Commonwealth Fund said.

"Most troubling, the U.S. fails to achieve better health outcomes than the other countries, and as shown in the earlier editions, the U.S. is last or near last on dimensions of access, efficiency, and equity."

The paper also said that countries with nationalized health systems outperform the U.S. in all measures, NBC News reported.

"Americans with below-average incomes were much more likely than their counterparts in other countries to report not visiting a physician when sick; not getting a recommended test, treatment, or follow-up care; or not filling a prescription or skipping doses when needed because of costs," the Commonwealth Fund said.

It noted that the problems with the U.S. health care system affect Americans' longevity, NBC News reported.

"The U.S. and U.K. had much higher death rates in 2007 from conditions amenable to medical care than some of the other countries, e.g., rates 25 percent to 50 percent higher than Australia and Sweden. Overall, France, Sweden, and Switzerland rank highest on healthy lives," the paper said.