The United States is last in ranking healthcare systems among 11 of the richest countries in the world, despite spending the highest percentage of its GDP on healthcare, according to a new Commonwealth Fund report .
The country struggles with serious health care affordability issues that affect access and equity, and it is the country with the most administrative hurdles in health care. This is despite the fact that the United States spends 17% of its gross domestic product on health care, “well above” the 10 other countries, according to the report.
The other countries analyzed in the report were Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The ranking is based on 71 measures in five areas: access to care, process of care, administrative efficiency, equity and health care outcomes.
The report notes that unlike the other countries in the study, the United States does not provide universal health coverage. Americans are more likely to have problems paying their medical bills and to be denied insurance. A larger percentage of Americans say they spend a lot of time on paperwork for medical bills, and doctors report having more difficulty prescribing medications to patients due to restrictive health insurance coverage.
Americans also face poor access to care, with more American adults going to the emergency room for non-urgent care. Doctors in the best performing countries are usually easily reachable by phone or at night and on weekends. The United States also has the largest disparity in care among income groups.
“We have almost two health systems in America: one for people with means and insurance, and another which is insufficient for people who are uninsured or do not have adequate insurance coverage”, Eric Schneider , principal author of the report and senior. vice president of policy and research at the Commonwealth Fund, told the Washington Post.
The one area where the United States has done well is the process of care, with Americans more likely to have mammograms and flu shots, and to have more discussions with their doctor about nutrition, smoking, and Alcohol consumption.
Health statistics reflect the reality of having the worst health care system on the list: The United States has the highest rates of infant, maternal, and preventable mortality. The country also has less support for early childhood education and support systems, such as unemployment protection, for workers, resulting in poorer health outcomes.
Schneider said the country’s comparatively weak health system made it harder for the United States to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.
“One could predict, based on the inequalities and relatively lower primary care, that we would be able to fight to fight the pandemic,” he said.