View Full Version : U.S. healthcare expensive, inefficient: report

May 15th, 2007, 09:52 PM
U.S. healthcare expensive, inefficient: report
By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor
Tue May 15, 1:25 AM ET

Americans get the poorest health care and yet pay the most compared to five other rich countries, according to a report released on Tuesday.
Germany, Britain, Australia and Canada all provide better care for less money, the Commonwealth Fund report found.

"The U.S. health care system ranks last compared with five other nations on measures of quality, access, efficiency, equity, and outcomes," the non-profit group which studies health care issues said in a statement.
Canada rates second worst out of the five overall. Germany scored highest, followed by Britain, Australia and New Zealand.

"The United States is not getting value for the money that is spent on health care," Commonwealth Fund president Karen Davis said in a telephone interview.

The group has consistently found that the United States, the only one of the six nations that does not provide universal health care, scores more poorly than the others on many measures of health care.

Congress, President George W. Bush, many employers and insurers have all agreed in recent months to overhaul the U.S. health care system -- an uncoordinated conglomeration of employer-funded care, private health insurance and government programs.

The current system leaves about 45 million people with no insurance at all, according to U.S. government estimates from 2005, and many studies have shown most of these people do not receive preventive services that not only keep them healthier, but reduce long-term costs.

Davis said the fund's researchers looked at hard data for the report.
"It is pretty indisputable that we spend twice what other countries spend on average," she said.

Per capita health spending in the United States in 2004 was $6,102, twice that of Germany, which spent $3,005. Canada spent $3,165, New Zealand $2,083 and Australia $2,876, while Britain spent $2,546 per person.


"We focus primarily on measures that are sensitive to medical care making a difference -- infant mortality and healthy lives at age 60," Davis said. "Those are pretty key measures, like how long you live and whether you are going to die before age 75."

Measures of other aspects of care such as cataract surgery or hip replacements is harder to come by, she said.

They also looked at convenience and again found the United States lacking -- with a few exceptions.

"We include measures such as waiting more than four months for elective, non-emergency surgery. The United States doesn't do as well as Germany but it does a lot better than the other countries on waiting time for surgery," Davis said.

"We looked at the time it takes to get in to see your own doctor ... (or) once you go to the emergency room do you sit there for more than two hours, and truthfully, we don't do well on those measures," Davis said.

According to the report, 61 percent of U.S. patients said it was somewhat or very difficult to get care on nights or weekends, compared with 25 percent to 59 percent in other countries.

"The area where the U.S. health care system performs best is preventive care, an area that has been monitored closely for over a decade by managed care plans," the report reads.

The United States had the fewest patients -- 84 percent -- reporting that they have a regular doctor.
And U.S. doctors are the least wired, with the lowest percentage using electronic medical records or receiving electronic updates on recommended treatments.

May 15th, 2007, 09:58 PM
The Commonwealth Fund is a group - with good aims I'm sure - makes no bones about the fact it
supports public health care - govt. health system.

With that in mind - what system would every single American like? What system would
fit 300 million people of every faith, color, background, region, and want. There is none.

We care to pay extra and more for I-Pods, cable tv, new rims for our tires, Lauren shirts,
green cars, than we do a little more for better coverage w/our health plan - whether private
or public or corporate policies.

Add into that a system the Left would like to open up to all of Mexico. Sorry, amnesty is
an open border okay, and will in fact make our system more burdensome, not less. Add another
20, 30, 50 million Mexican citizens to the system.

May 15th, 2007, 10:16 PM
Health Care in America is probably the single most complex issue we face. We could easily discuss this for 20 pages and still barely get to the meat of the problem, or how to effectively improve conditions nationwide.
When a nation is based on Capitalistic ideology..., with the strong pharmaceutical companies greasing the palms of legislators..., I can only see this problem getting worse before it ever gets better. :sad:

May 15th, 2007, 10:24 PM
We care to pay extra and more for I-Pods, cable tv, new rims for our tires, Lauren shirts,
green cars, than we do a little more for better coverage w/our health plan - whether private
or public or corporate policies.

The problem is we aren't paying a little more for better health care, we're paying a hell of a lot more and getting less than our friends and neighbors with universal health care.

May 15th, 2007, 11:16 PM
When companies are moving jobs to foreign countries because of health care costs (like GM moving a bunch of production to Canada) that's not good for the US.

But I agree there's no easy solution.