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United States of America
A 2014 study by the private American foundation The Commonwealth Fund found that although the U.S. health care system is the most expensive in the world, it ranks last on most dimensions of performance when compared with Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, The Commonwealth Fund found that although the U.S. health care system is the most expensive in the world, it ranks last on most dimensions of performance when compared with Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The study found that the United States failed to achieve better outcomes than other countries, and is last or near last in terms of access, efficiency and equity. Study date came from international surveys of patients and primary care physicians, as well as information on health care outcomes from The Commonwealth Fund, the World Health Organization, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
As of 2017, the U.S. stands 43rd in the world with a life expectancy of 80.00 years. The CIA World Factbook ranked the United States 170th worst (out of 225) – meaning 55th best – in the world for infant mortality rate (5.80/1,000 live births). Americans also undergo cancer screenings at significantly higher rates than people in other developed countries, and access MRI and CT scans at the highest rate of any OECD nation.
A study found that between 1997 and 2003, preventable deaths declined more slowly in the United States than in 18 other industrialized nations. A 2008 study found that 101,000 people a year die in the U.S. that would not if the health care system were as effective as that of France, Japan, or Australia. A 2020 study by the economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton argues that the United States "spends huge sums of money for some of the worst health outcomes in the Western world."As of 2017, the U.S. stands 43rd in the world with a life expectancy of 80.00 years. The CIA World Factbook ranked the United States 170th worst (out of 225) – meaning 55th best – in the world for infant mortality rate (5.80/1,000 live births). Americans also undergo cancer screenings at significantly higher rates than people in other developed countries, and access MRI and CT scans at the highest rate of any OECD nation.
A study found that between 1997 and 2003, preventable deaths declined more slowly in the United States than in 18 other industrialized nations. A 2008 study found that 101,000 people a year die in the U.S. that would not if the health care system were as effective as that of France, Japan, or Australia. A 2020 study by the economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton argues that the United States "spends huge sums of money for some of the worst health outcomes in the Western world."
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found that the U.S. ranked poorly in terms of years of potential life lost (YPLL), a statistical measure of years of life lost under the age of 70 that were amenable to being saved by health care. Among OECD nations for which data are available, the United States ranked third last for the health care of women (after Mexico and Hungary) and fifth last for men (Slovakia and Poland also ranked worse).
Recent studies find growing gaps in life expectancy based on income and geography. In 2008, a government-sponsored study found that life expectancy declined from 1983 to 1999 for women in 180 counties, and for men in 11 counties, with most of the life expectancy declines occurring in the Deep South, Appalachia, along the Mississippi River, in the Southern Plains and in Texas. The difference is as high as three years for men, six years for women. The gap is growing between rich and poor and by educational level, but narrowing between men and women and by race. Another study found that the mortality gap between the well-educated and the poorly educated widened significantly between 1993 and 2001 for adults ages 25 through 64; the authors speculated that risk factors such as smoking, obesity and high blood pressure may lie behind these disparities. In 2011 the U.S. National Research Council forecasted that deaths attributed to smoking, on the decline in the US, will drop dramatically, improving life expectancy; it also suggested that one-fifth to one-third of the life expectancy difference can be attributed to obesity which is the worst in the world and has been increasing. In an analysis of breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and prostate cancer diagnosed during 1990–1994 in 31 countries, the U.S. had the highest five-year relative survival rate for breast cancer and prostate cancer, although survival was systematically and substantially lower in black U.S. men and women.
The debate about U.S. health care concerns questions of access, efficiency, and quality purchased by the high sums spent. The World Health Organization (WHO) in 2000 ranked the U.S. health care system first in responsiveness, but 37th in overall performance and 72nd by overall level of health (among 191 member nations included in the study). The WHO study has been criticized by the free market advocate David Gratzer because "fairness in financial contribution" was used as an assessment factor, marking down countries with high per-capita private or fee-paying health treatment. The WHO study has been criticized, in an article published in Health Affairs, for its failure to include the satisfaction ratings of the general public. The study found that there was little correlation between the WHO rankings for health systems and the stated satisfaction of citizens using those systems. Countries such as Italy and Spain, which were given the highest ratings by WHO were ranked poorly by their citizens while other countries, such as Denmark and Finland, were given low scores by WHO but had the highest percentages of citizens reporting satisfaction with their health care systems. WHO staff, however, say that the WHO analysis does reflect system "responsiveness" and argue that this is a superior measure to consumer satisfaction, which is influenced by expectations. Furthermore, the relationship between patient satisfaction and health care utilization, expenditures, and outcomes is complex and not well defined.
A report released in April 2008 by the Foundation for Child Development, which studied the period from 1994 through 2006, found mixed results for the health of children in the U.S. Mortality rates for children ages 1 through 4 dropped by a third, and the percentage of children with elevated blood lead levels dropped by 84%. The percentage of mothers who smoked during pregnancy also declined. On the other hand, both obesity and the percentage of low-birth weight babies increased. The authors note that the increase in babies born with low birth weights can be attributed to women delaying childbearing and the increased use of fertility drugs.
In a sample of 13 developed countries the US was third in its population weighted usage of medication in 14 classes in both 2009 and 2013. The drugs studied were selected on the basis that the conditions treated had high incidence, prevalence and/or mortality, caused significant long-term morbidity and incurred high levels of expenditure and significant developments in prevention or treatment had been made in the last 10 years. The study noted considerable difficulties in cross border comparison of medication use.
A critic of the U.S. health care system, British philanthropist Stan Brock, whose charity Remote Area Medical has served over half a million uninsured Americans, stated, “You could be blindfolded and stick a pin on a map of America and you will find people in need.” The charity has over 700 clinics and 80,000 volunteer doctors and nurses around the U.S. Simon Usborne of The Independent writes that in the UK “GPs are amazed to hear that poor Americans should need to rely on a charity that was originally conceived to treat people in the developing world.”
Variations in the efficiency of health care delivery can cause variations in outcomes. The Dartmouth Atlas Project, for instance, reported that, for over 20 years, marked variations in how medical resources are distributed and used in the United States were accompanied by marked variations in outcomes. The willingness of physicians to work in an area varies with the income of the area and the amenities it offers, a situation aggravated by a general shortage of doctors in the United States, particularly those who offer primary care. The Affordable Care Act, if implemented, will produce an additional demand for services which the existing stable of primary care doctors will be unable to fill, particularly in economically depressed areas. Training additional physicians would require some years.
Lean manufacturing techniques such as value stream mapping can help identify and subsequently mitigate waste associated with costs of healthcare. Other product engineering tools such as FMEA and Fish Bone Diagrams have been used to improve efficiencies in healthcare delivery.
In 2010, coronary artery disease, lung cancer, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, and traffic accidents caused the most years of life lost in the US. Low back pain, depression, musculoskeletal disorders, neck pain, and anxiety caused the most years lost to disability. The most deleterious risk factors were poor diet, tobacco smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, physical inactivity, and alcohol use. Alzheimer's disease, drug abuse, kidney disease and cancer, and falls caused the most additional years of life lost over their age-adjusted 1990 per-capita rates.
Between 1990 and 2010, among the 34 countries in the OECD, the US dropped from 18th to 27th in age-standardized death rate. The US dropped from 23rd to 28th for age-standardized years of life lost. It dropped from 20th to 27th in life expectancy at birth. It dropped from 14th to 26th for healthy life expectancy.
According to a 2009 study conducted at Harvard Medical School by co-founders of Physicians for a National Health Program, a pro-single payer lobbying group, and published by the American Journal of Public Health, lack of health coverage is associated with nearly 45,000 excess preventable deaths annually. Since then, as the number of uninsured has risen from about 46 million in 2009 to 49 million in 2012, the number of preventable deaths due to lack of insurance has grown to about 48,000 per year. The group's methodology has been criticized by economist John C. Goodman for not looking at cause of death or tracking insurance status changes over time, including the time of death.
A 2009 study by former Clinton policy adviser Richard Kronick published in the journal Health Services Research found no increased mortality from being uninsured after certain risk factors were controlled for.
A study of international health care spending levels published in the health policy journal Health Affairs in the year 2000 found that the United States spends substantially more on health care than any other country in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and that the use of health care services in the U.S. is below the OECD median by most measures. The authors of the study conclude that the prices paid for health care services are much higher in the U.S. than elsewhere. While the 19 next most wealthy countries by GDP all pay less than half what the U.S. does for health care, they have all gained about six years of life expectancy more than the U.S. since 1970.
Delays in seeking care and increased use of emergency care