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U.S. Continues It's Losing Streak In Health Care Quality Comparison                   

by Mandi Woodruff, 16 June 2014


Money can't buy everything including health care, and the U.S. spends the most of any country on its health care system.  Yet, it ranked the lowest out of 11 industrialized nations in overall healthcare quality according to a report published on June 9, 2014 by the Commonwealth Fund.

The report covered the years 2011-2013 and compared more than 80 indicators of care spending, quality and performance to the likes of Austria, the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, and Sweden among other developed nations.

The U.K., which was ranked highest, blew the U.S. out of the water despite the fact that the country spends less than half as much on health care per capita ($3,406 average) compared to ($8,508 average) in the U.S.  The U.S. also spends the most on health care as a percentage of GDP (17%) than any other nation.


This is the fifth time in a row the U.S. has landed at the bottom of the heap in the semi-annual report.  In large part, the reason has been due to the fact that, until recently, access to affordable health care was severely lacking.  The indication that the Affordable Care Act will make a significant difference in raising the status of the U.S. health care should help all Americans to have better care and better health outcomes at a lower cost.     Karen Davis, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Where The U.S. Is Failing 

1.  Death Rates (Infant Mortality and preventable deaths due to lack of timely access).

2.  Access To Affordable Care                                                                        (lack of affordable care was a problem for those with low incomes).

3.  Health Care Quality (here the U.S. showed strength placing 4th)

4.  Efficiency  (scored last)

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This information is what drives this website.  Our health care is not a lost cause, but we have to take more responsibility for ourselves and what constitutes good health care.   Allowing pharmaceutical companies and their supporters to decide what is good for you, and what is not, only sets one up for a long life of ill health. Once arriving at the point, I know you will decide that's not the way you would choose to live if you had a "do over".

I wish you the best of luck in whatever you decide, and I hope I can help along the way.  fh

UPDATE: We are starting a new year (2018) with new and bigger problems

Our healthcare situation has been seriously attacked by the new administration to cancel out the ACA  aka  Obamacare.  To that end, they are making cuts in all the crucial places that help the uninsured to get insurance and receive the necessary care they may need.

Suddenly the issue of Universal Health Care or Single Payer has become more prevalent in our healthcare conversation.  Many Americans are terrified at the prospect of government oversight and control of our health care.  Yet, in Europe and Canada it has been a successful program for their citizens for many years, and few find it anything except a comfort.  They do not worry about how to pay or get services because the plan is designed to essentially pay upfront as you would insurance in this country.

Let's use Canada as an example.

Patients in Canada are treated in the order of need.  A heart attack is addressed before a sprained thumb.  Welfare patients are not set aside for the sprained thumb either if their problem is more serious than a sprained thumb.  

In surgery lists, the people who have emergency trauma or life-threatening conditions are put ahead of those who can wait a few weeks.

Funding the health care in Canada comes from income tax, resource royalties and corporate taxes.  For over 50 years the system has been paid for by this process, and it obviously works well for all Canadians.

The government does not interfere between the patient and doctor like the insurance companies do in the U.S.  The Canadian government doesn't care what doctor you see and typically pre-approves hundreds of tests, procedures and treatments so the doctor, clinic or hospital has far less paperwork.  

Other countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, Germany and France, have variations of the Canadian system, but they all address the patient before the profit to be made off of the patient, and wouldn't that be a good thing for Americans as well?  Doctors and even insurance companies are happier with a Universal system in those countries and so could we.

Of course, the current health care system in America would have to change, and not in a small way.  The financial burden carried by Americans would shift but the costs to the government would be cheaper because they would have the power of size and quantity.

As one Aussie, Edwel Alagich, put it, "I cannot, for the life of me, understand why Americans would prefer their system with its horrendous costs and worry about whether they will be covered should they be unlucky enough to be diagnosed with a malignancy or other life threatening ill or condition."