Study: U.S. Health Care Costs More, Less Effective
The U.S. health care system is the most expensive in the world, and it yields worse results than the systems in Britain, Canada, Germany, Australia and New Zealand, according to a report issued this week by the Commonwealth Fund, Bloomberg/Detroit Free Press reports.
The report found that the U.S. differs from better-performing nations by not having universal health insurance. According to the report, total U.S. health care spending by government, employers, insurance and individuals averaged $6,102 per person in 2004 -- more than the average spent on individuals in every other country after adjusting for the local cost of living.
The report's authors said that U.S. residents with below-average incomes were more likely than their counterparts in other countries to not have received needed care because of cost. The report found that Britain had the best system in "quality care, access, efficiency, equity and healthy lives" and that it spends less per person than the U.S. or Canada.
Karen Davis, president of the Commonwealth Fund and the report's lead author, said, "The U.S. spends more and doesn't get more." She added that a likely reason for higher overall health care costs in the U.S. is that residents "do take more medication" compared with people living in other countries (Lopatto, Bloomberg/Detroit Free Press, 5/16).
The report is available online. Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat to view the report.