So, You Think U.S. Health Care Ranks Best, Eh? Think Again

A comprehensive first-of-its-kind report from the nonpartisan Commonwealth Fund provides an eye-opening look at the quality of and access to health care in the United States compared to that of other 10 other industrialized nations. In essence, the report offers data-backed evidence showing that a person’s level of income defines the health care he or she receives more so in the United States than in any other wealthy nation. The study, the only one to include survey data to measure and compare patient and physician experiences across wealthy nations, ranks the United States last overall, and on providing equally accessible and high-quality health care, regardless of a person’s income. For example, in the United Kingdom, 7 percent of people with lower incomes and 4 percent with higher incomes reported that costs prevented them from getting needed health care -- a 3-percentage point gap between those with higher and lower incomes. In the United States, 44 percent of lower income and 26 percent of higher income people reported financial barriers to care. Remarkably, a high-income person in the U.S. was more likely to report financial barriers than a low-income person in the U.K. “What this report tells us is that despite the substantial gains in coverage and access to care due to the Affordable Care Act, our health care system is still not working as well as it could for Americans, and it works especially poorly for those with middle or lower incomes,” says Dr. David Blumenthal, president of the Commonwealth Fund. “The health care policies currently being contemplated in Congress would certainly exacerbate these challenges as millions would lose access to health insurance and affordable health care.” In the report, titled “Mirror, Mirror 2017: International Comparison Reflects Flaws and Opportunities for [...]

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7/14/17 5:43 PM

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