6 October 2013

It's high time for some "cross-national learning"!

I think that Obama Care didn't go nearly far enough, but since the Republican's alternative is to go back to the status quo, we should really consider the fact that according to research, Americans pay much more for far less when it comes to their health system. This, for example, is from a 2011 study by Squires

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) tracks and reports on more than 1,200 health system measures across 34 industrialized countries. This analysis concentrated on 2010 OECD health data for Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Health care spending in the U.S. towers over the other countries. The U.S. has fewer hospital beds and physicians, and sees fewer hospital and physician visits, than in most other countries. Prescription drug utilization, prices, and spending all appear to be highest in the U.S., as does the supply, utilization, and price of diagnostic imaging. U.S. performance on a limited set of quality measures is variable, ranking highly on five-year cancer survival, middling on in-hospital case-specific mortality, and poorly on hospital admissions for chronic conditions and amputations due to diabetes. Findings suggest opportunities for cross-national learning to improve health system performance.

We could really use some cross-national learning!

An article by Woolf and Aron (2013), summarizing the current situation, begins: The United States spends more on health care than does any other country, but its health outcomes are generally worse than those of other wealthy nations. People in the United States experience higher rates of disease and injury and die earlier than people in other high-income countries. 

Unfortunately, nothing's changed in the last decade. Going back to 2003, an article laments that the U.S. has the priciest system and has nothing to show for it.

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