Not in the US.
In France. Or Japan. Or Australia.
In fact, any one of the 18 other industrialized nations ranked by the journal Health Affairs (subscription required) in a recent study, as cited by Reuters.
The study looked at what they called "preventable deaths," defined as "deaths before age 75 from numerous causes, including heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, diabetes, certain bacterial infections and complications of common surgical procedures." By this metric, France had the highest quality care with 64.8 preventable deaths per 100,000 people. Japan and Australia lagged with 71.2 and 71.3.
The United States came in dead last with 109.7 "preventable" deaths per 100,000 people. By this measure, somewhere north of 100,000 Americans die prematurely every year.
The study's lead author was quoted as saying "I wouldn't say it (the last-place ranking) is a condemnation, because I think health care in the U.S. is pretty good if you have access. But if you don't, I think that's the main problem, isn't it?"
You can quibble with the details of this study -- the definition of "preventable deaths" is always controversial and open to debate. And there are differences between the populations in terms of general health and the incidence of certain diseases. But the findings provide a reasonable comparison between countries, and it's not unreasonable to conclude that this provides at least a partial index of the overall quality of the health care system. Further, since this reproduces the results from multiple other studies showing that the US has, on aggregate, the worst health outcomes in the industrialized world, further credibility would be added to this result.
And for this, we pay $7000 per capita. Again, we pay the most, and get the least.
09 January 2008
Not in the US.
Posted by shadowfax at 10:52 AM