U.S. Health Care Ranks Low Among Industrialized Nations
The U.S. has the highest infant mortality rate and lowest life expectancy rate for residents older than age 60 among almost two dozen industrialized nations worldwide, according to a Health Affairs report published on Wednesday, Gannett/Hattiesburg American reports (Wheeler, Gannett/Hattiesburg American, 9/20).
For the report, researchers for the Commission on a High Performance Health System at the Commonwealth Fund examined 37 indicators of health outcomes, quality, access, equity and efficiency developed by the Institute of Medicine, HHS, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the National Committee for Quality Assurance and other experts. According to the report, the U.S. overall scored an average of 66 out of a possible 100 on the health indicators and did not score highest on any of the indicators (Carey, CQ HealthBeat, 9/20).
The report finds that the U.S. spends twice as much on health care as other industrialized nations in relation to gross domestic product. In addition, the report finds that 61 million U.S. residents lacked health insurance or did not have adequate coverage in 2003 (Young, Bloomberg/Miami Herald, 9/21). The report also finds:
- One-third of U.S. patients reported a medical, medication or laboratory error in the past two years;
- Almost one-fourth of U.S. adults reported that they had to wait at least six days before they received health care (Gannett/Hattiesburg American, 9/20);
- Only 17% of U.S. physicians use electronic health records, which can prevent medical errors; and
- About 115 per 100,000 deaths in the U.S. are preventable with proper health care, compared with 75 in France and 81 in Japan (Bloomberg/Miami Herald, 9/21).
Cathy Schoen, senior vice president for research at the Commonwealth Fund, said, "We have lives at stake. We should expect higher value in return" for health care spending (Bloomberg/Miami Herald, 9/21). 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.