Study: U.S. Lags Behind European Nations for Preventable Fatalities
The U.S. finished behind France, Germany and the United Kingdom in a Commonwealth Fund study of fatalities that could have been prevented by timely and effective health care, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports (Viebeck, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 8/29).
The study -- published this week in the journal Health Affairs -- was conducted by researchers at RAND Europe and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical MedicineÂ (Commonwealth Fund release, 8/29). It found that, from 1999 to 2007, the potentially preventable death rate among individuals ages 0 to 74 decreased by:
- 18.5% for U.S. men and 17.5% for U.S.Â women;
- 24.3% for German men and 22.7% for German women;
- 27.7% for French men and 23.4% for French women; and
- 36.9% for British men and 31.9% for British women.
The difference in mortality rates among men and women under age 65 was most pronounced (Lee, Modern Healthcare, 8/29). The 2007 preventable death rate per 100,000 residents in that age group was:
- 69 for U.S. men, and 56 for U.S. women;
- 53 for British men, and 46 for British women;
- 50 for German men, and 40 for German women; and
- 37 for French men, and 34 for French women ("Healthwatch," The Hill, 8/29).
Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis in a statement noted that the U.S. in 2010 spent about $8,400 in health care per capitaâ"almost twice as much as the amount spent per capita in the U.K., Germany and France (Commonwealth Fund release, 8/29).
Davis: ACA May Improve U.S. Preventable Death Rate
The study found that Medicare beneficiaries did not lag far behind their European peers in amenable death rates. However, it also found that U.S. residents under the age of 65 are more likely to face difficulties with access to care as a result of being uninsured (Science Daily, 8/29).
In contrast, France, Germany, and the U.K. all provide affordable and universal health coverage to their population regardless of age.
However, Davis says, the "good news is that the Affordable Care Act is already beginning to close the gaps in access to care. When fully implemented, it will cover nearly all Americans, with the potential to put our country on track to improve to levels seen in best-performing countries" (Commonwealth Fund release, 8/29).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.