The U.S. healthcare system ranks last or next-to-last in five areasquality, access, efficiency, equity and healthy liveswhen compared with five other nations, even though it spends more per person on healthcare, according to a new report from the Commonwealth Fund.
The results released today are from the third edition of Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: An International Update on the Comparative Performance of American Health Care, which also released analysis on these six health systems in 2006 and 2004. Overall, Germany was the only country to receive a score of 1, the highest ranking possible, while the U.S. earned an overall score of 6, the same mark it received in 2006 and 2004.
This years report said the U.S. is most notably different from the other countries surveyed because it does not provide universal health insurance coverage. It is not surprising, therefore, that the United States substantially underperforms other countries on measures of access to care and equity in healthcare between populations with above-average and below-average incomes, the report said.
It also showed that the U.S. spent more on health expenditures per person in 2004$6,102than the other five countries. Germany spent $3,005 per capita, while the United Kingdom, which earned an overall ranking of 2, spent $2,546. And in terms of quality, other countries are further along than the U.S. in using information technology and a team approach to managed chronic conditions and coordinate care, the authors said in the reports executive summary. The other three countries examined were Australia, Canada and New Zealand. -- by Jessica Zigmond