Despite High Costs, U.S. Health System Receives Low Scores in International Comparisons

eAlert 9ac7cde1-afa3-4bf2-ab29-2fc0b45ea32c

<p>Despite having the most costly health system in the world, the United States consistently underperforms on most dimensions of performance, relative to other industrialized countries. The third update of a Commonwealth Fund report finds that the U.S. health care system ranks last compared with five other nations--Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom--on measures of quality, access, efficiency, equity, and outcomes.<bR><br><a href="/cnlib/pub/enews_clickthrough.htm?enews_item_id=28373&return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecommonwealthfund%2Eorg%2Fpublications%2Fpublications%5Fshow%2Ehtm%3Fdoc%5Fid%3D482678%26%23doc482678">Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: An International Update on the Comparative Performance of American Health Care</a> by Fund president Karen Davis, Ph. D., and colleagues includes data from surveys of patients and primary care physicians about their medical practices and views of their countries' health systems. The authors say the poor performance in the U.S. reflects its status as the only country in the study without universal health insurance coverage.<Br><bR>An updated <a href="/cnlib/pub/enews_clickthrough.htm?enews_item_id=28374&return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecommonwealthfund%2Eorg%2Fpublications%2Fpublications%5Fshow%2Ehtm%3Fdoc%5Fid%3D482648%26%23doc482648">Commonwealth Fund chartbook</a> by researchers from The Johns Hopkins University compares health spending data in nine Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries and, where possible, the median of all 30 OECD countries. Although the U.S. spends more than twice as much per capita on health care as other nations ($6,102 vs. $2,571 for the median of OECD countries in 2004), the country spends far less on health information technology--just 43 cents per capita, compared with about $192 per capita in the U.K.<Br><Br>Charts from both reports--as well as a wealth of other graphical data--are available in <a href="/chartcart/">Chart Cart,</a> an online resource that offers free and convenient access to Commonwealth Fund charts.</p>