New Study: U.S. Ranks Last Among High-Income Nations on Preventable Deaths

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<p>The United States ranks last among 16 high-income, industrialized nations when it comes to deaths that could potentially have been prevented with timely access to effective health care, according to a new Commonwealth Fund–supported <a href="/publications/journal-article/2011/sep/variations-amenable-mortality-trends-16-high-income-nations">study</a> in the journal <em>Health Policy</em>. </p>
<p>Based on an analysis by Ellen Nolte and Martin McKee, other nations lowered their "amenable mortality" rates an average of 31 percent from 1997–98 to 2006–07, while the U.S. rate declined by only 20 percent, from 120 to 96 per 100,000 people. At the end of the decade, the amenable mortality rate in the U.S. was almost twice that in France, which had the lowest at 55 per 100,000. </p>
<p>Nolte, of RAND Europe, and McKee, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, analyzed deaths that occurred before age 75 from causes like treatable cancer, diabetes, childhood infections/respiratory diseases, complications from surgeries, and ischemic heart disease. They estimate that if the U.S. had been able to lower its amenable mortality rate to that in the three best-performing countries—France, Australia, and Italy—84,300 deaths would have been prevented in 2006–07. </p>