Monday, November 28, 2011
Best health care in the world?
Think again: US health care statistics according to a just-released study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation (OECD): --We rank 29th--out of a total of 34 nations examined--in the number of hospital beds per person and 29th in the average length of a stay in the hospital. --We have high rates of avoidable hospital admissions for people with asthma, lung disease, diabetes, hypertension and other common illnesses. --We rank 26th--again, out of 34 nations--in the number of physicians, especially primary care or family doctors, per 1,000 people. --In life expectancy, we rank 28th, just behind Chile. The average age of death in the U.S. is 78.2, well below the average of 79.5 years in the other OCED countries. --We now rank last out of 16 countries in the Commonwealth Fund study when it comes to deaths that could have been prevented by timely and effective medical care. --A big reason for the dismal results is the fact that more and more Americans are falling into the ranks of the uninsured and underinsured. As of last year, according to the Commonwealth Fund, 81 million adults in the U.S.--44 percent of all adults under age 65--were either uninsured or underinsured at some point during the year, up from 61 million as recently as 2003. --The US spends two and a half times more on health care per peson than the OECD average. We spend more than twice as much as France, which many experts contend has one of the best health care systems on the planet. The average cost per person in the US is $7,960, a third more than Norway--the 2nd highest in cost. The OECD average, by comparison is just $3,233 (it is $3,873 in France). --Hospital spending is 60 percent higher than the average of five other relatively expensive countries (Switzerland, Canada, Germany, France and Japan); spending on pharmaceuticals and medical goods is much higher here than any of the other countries; and administrative costs are more than two-and-a-half times the average of the others. Conclusion? Don't let any lawmaker or industry shill tell you we have the best health care system--or health care, for that matter, in the world. We just don't. We pay more than any other nation, by a long shot, and we get less results. We need to change this. Links: http://www.oecd.org/document/30/0,3746,en_2649_37407_12968734_1_1_1_37407,00.html; http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/mike-friends-blog/does-us-have-worlds-best-health-care-system-yes-if-youre-talking-about-third-world