Saturday, May 20, 2017
‘An embarrassment’: U.S. health care far from the top in global study - The Washington Post
Comment by Don McCanne
This study establishes a new landmark in health policy research. It provides a basis of determining how all nations are doing in reducing premature deaths by providing timely and effective health care, that is, in improving their “amenable mortality” rates.
To no surprise for those who follow health policy, the Healthcare Access and Quality Index (HAQ Index) for the United States falls about in the middle of nations in the highest quartile of the Socio-demographic Index (SDI). Although our per capita spending on health care is about twice the average of these nations, our access and quality are only average. We do not have the best health care system in the world, in spite of what reform opponents say.
As Christopher Murray, a senior author of this study, states, “America's ranking is an embarrassment.” Look at the countries that rank above us. If, like them, we used our public resources more effectively we would no longer have to be ashamed of our performance. Just through the tax system alone we are already spending more per capita than almost all of the other nations do in both public and private spending combined.
It’s not that we need to make a decision to finance health care through our taxes; we already largely do that. Instead we need to improve the allocation of our tax funds plus our private spending. We can do that best by enacting and implementing a well-designed single payer national health program - an improved Medicare for all. With all that we are spending, we should be at the top of the list.
Posted by Craig at 8:50 AM