Of 11 nations studied—Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States—the U.S. ranks last or near last on access, efficiency, and equity, new global study reports.
America’s health care system is on the critical list.
This diagnosis comes from a new report issued by the Commonwealth Fund that finds that of 11 nations studied—Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States—the U.S. ranks last or near last on access, efficiency, and equity. America, which has the most expensive health care system in the world, underperformed similarly in previous Commonwealth studies in 2010, 2007, 2006 and 2004.
America ranks “a clear last” on equity of health care, according to the study. “Americans with below-average incomes were much more likely than their counterparts in other countries to report not visiting a physician when sick,” the authors state. “Not getting a recommended test, treatment, or follow-up care; or not filling a prescription or skipping doses when needed because of costs.”
At least one-third lower-income adults in the U.S. said they went without needed care because of costs in the past year.
America also ranks last overall for indicators of healthy lives.
“The claim that the United States has ‘the best health care system in the world’ is clearly not true,” the report’s authors conclude.
Americans, though, are pretty much satisfied with the way America’s health care system is working for them,” according to a Gallup Poll released this week. Two-thirds of respondents expressed they were satisfied.
Health insurance status, not surprisingly, is a key factor in Americans’ satisfaction with the health care system, but it’s not a guarantee. Nearly three-in-10 Americans with insurance say they are dissatisfied with the way it is working for them.
Among those without insurance—currently about 13.4 percent of Americans, Gallup reports—60 percent are dissatisfied.
Politics, too, also “shade the results,” the survey finds, although the measure of healthcare satisfaction does not specifically mention the Affordable Care Act. Still, Republicans are more likely than Democrat respondents to report being dissatisfied with America’s healthcare system (38 percent vs. 24 percent).
Health issues are a priority among Affluent households, according to Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner wealth level studies. A majority of Non-Millionaire households with a net worth of at least $100,000 (not including primary residence) are concerned about the health of a spouse (66 percent), their own health (62 percent), a family catastrophe (56 percent) or spending their final years in a care facility (56 percent). These findings are consistent with Millionaire households.
Even America’s wealthiest households are concerned about health care costs. High net worth investors with investable assets of at least $5 million, rank health care costs as the biggest threat to their retirement security, (64 percent).
Related story: Millionaires rank health concerns over their personal finance position.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.