Posted by Bill Sandweg on 21 November 2016.
The annual report by the Commonwealth Fund is out again. The Fund has as its goal the promotion of high quality health care programs with better access for the poor, for children, and for the uninsured. Each year the Fund surveys the health care systems of 11 industrialized countries, including the United States. The other countries are Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, France, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. As has been the case every year in which the Fund has surveyed the health systems of these countries, we in the United States come in dead last. And “dead” is probably an appropriate adjective here.
We spend more money per person than any of the other countries but have the least to show for it. We not only spend more per person than the residents of the other countries, we spend a greater portion of our Gross Domestic Product on health care as well. And our spending is not even close to the next nearest country on the list. Yet for all our spending, we are less healthy than the other countries. Our rate of infant mortality is almost 4 times higher than the lowest country on the list. How can that be in the greatest country in the world? We are fatter and, while lifespans are increasing in the other countries, they are falling in the United States.
One area in which we lead is the number of uninsured residents. 43% of low-income Americans are without medical insurance. In the other countries, the rate ranged from a low of 8% in Britain to 31% in Switzerland. “In comparison to adults in the other 10 countries, adults in the United States are sicker and more economically disadvantaged,” the report said.
This is not a problem with us. This is a problem with the politicians who take money from lobbyists who take money from insurance companies, hospitals and doctors, all of whom have a stake in keeping the system as broken as it is now. If you are happy with the United States being in last place in the developed world in health care and millions of your fellow Americans being without adequate health care, just keep on voting for the politicians who are serving you so poorly.