Second U.S. Health System Scorecard Finds No Improvement Overall, Steep Decline in Access

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<p>In its first national scorecard released two years ago, The Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System found that the United States fell far short of benchmarks for access, quality, efficiency, and other key measures of health system performance. The <a href="/publications/fund-reports/2008/jul/why-not-the-best--results-from-the-national-scorecard-on-u-s--health-system-performance--2008
">2008 edition of the scorecard</a>, available today at <a href=""></a&gt;, paints an even bleaker picture.<br><br>As discussed in the report, <a href="/publications/fund-reports/2008/jul/why-not-the-best--results-from-the-national-scorecard-on-u-s--health-system-performance--2008
">Why Not The Best? Results from the National Scorecard on U.S. Health System Performance, 2008</a>, the U.S. scored an average of 65 out of a possible 100 across 37 indicators of health outcomes, quality, access, efficiency, and equity--slightly below the overall score in the 2006 report. The scores compare U.S. average performance to rates achieved by top performers within the U.S. or internationally.<br><br>Even more troubling is that the health system is on the wrong track when it comes to access and affordability: as of 2007, 42 percent of all working age adults were either uninsured or underinsured, up from 35 percent since 2003.<br><br>Despite spending more on health care than any other nation, the U.S. continues to fall far short on key indicators of health outcomes and quality, with particularly low scores on efficiency. The U.S. has also failed to keep pace with improvements made in other countries, falling from 15th to last among 19 industrialized nations on premature deaths that are potentially preventable with timely access to effective health care.<br><br>"It's apparent that, overall, the health care system is performing unevenly and well below its potential," said James J. Mongan, M.D., who chairs the 19-member commission and is CEO of Partners HealthCare in Boston. "While there are pockets of improvement and excellence, it is clear that we need strong leadership and concerted public and private efforts to achieve and raise standards of performance nationwide and ensure that significant progress occurs in the future."</p>