Is American Healthcare Really Better?
The Commonwealth Fund in association with the International Travel Insurance Group conducted a study to measure where the United States stacks up against 10 other high-income countries in regard to healthcare. The high-income countries polled included the following: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. This study used a complex series of metrics to make determinations surrounding the categories of Overall Care/Ranking, Quality of Care, Access, Efficiency, Equity, Healthy Lives, and Healthcare Costs/Expenditures.
The top finishers for overall healthcare according to the results were the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Sweden, and Australia. As we examine the findings closer we discover that the United States finished 11th out of the 11 countries polled; finishing last as the US also did in 2006, 2007, 2010, and 2014. With regard to health costs/expenditures, the United States did finish first demonstrating that the cost of care per patient surveyed was $2,839 higher than the next highest, Norway. Where else did the United States finish first? The inequity of course…or in layman’s terms, the amount of profitable money acquired within the healthcare system is largely related to pharmaceutical influence, elevated insurance premiums, skyrocketing deductibles, and out-of-pocket costs to the patient.
You’re probably asking yourself the same thing I did when I read this information…can this really be true or just a bias from the party that conducted the study? Let’s ask another reputable source like the World Health Organization (WHO) that examines and compares aspects of health care systems around the world. In a study conducted by the WHO, Ranking the World’s 100 Best Health Systems, the United States ranked number 37 out of 100. This was once again behind the previously polled countries; the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Sweden, Australia, and even Costa Rica. Yes, you read that correctly…the World Health Organization ranks health care in Costa Rica better than that of the United States.
So where does this leave us on the horizon of healthcare in the United States?
Is it a broken healthcare system? Are financial motivators leaving the medical field open to corruption and manipulation? Do we point fingers or do we start to realize that maybe the most expensive, labeled as the most cutting edge for insurance reimbursement purposes, are not the answer at all? Maybe the answer received by a patient from one physician is truly worth a second opinion? As a culture, I think that it is time to face the facts.
In order to see change WE, as a people, must be willing to have the hard discussions with our insurance providers, state representatives, and congressmen/women. Let them know that you are aware of the current state of affairs and that you want to see change. For the sake of our aging parents and our kids who will someday have kids…they are worth fighting for!!