Our Non-system of Health Care: International Comparisons

Out health care costs are out of control. We pay more and get limited benefit from our huge expenditure. We lead the world in health care related bankruptcy, hospital expenditures, drug costs, physicians pay, and the proportion of our population without health insurance. We are number 1.

The 2011 analysis of the US health care (non) system suggests that the reasons for our expenditures are “substantially higher prices and more fragmented care delivery that leads to duplication of resources and extensive use of poorly coordinated specialists.”

And concludes that:

Despite much higher spending, U.S. performance in terms of quality is variable relative to other countries. While cancer care in the U.S. seems to be of particularly high quality based on five-year survival rates, the high rates of hospital admissions for chronic diseases suggest opportunities for improvement.

Some graphics from the study:

On Hospital spending:

On comparative costs:

On Cancer survival:

Medicynical Note: It’s wonderful that our cancer survival is somewhat better than elsewhere, but if we accept that as true we also have to accept the shortcomings identified in the study and noted above.

The debate on the conservative side hinges on whether health care in the US should be a right of citizenship. It’s seems somewhat irrational to maintain such reasoning, tantamount to trying to reclaim virginity, when these same conservative friends continually laud U.S. Health Care for providing “free” access to ER’s for all. Is this not a form of defacto health care for all albeit inefficiently and poorly instituted.

Their reasoning, in some ways, is not surprising. After all, what other form of care would the most expensive inefficient health care non-system provide? And it goes without saying that it is not free. Can’t we do better?


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