We Americans constantly hear the assertion that the U.S. health-care system is the best in the world. Far from it according to the Commonwealth Fund, which conducts independent research on health care. It did health-care research on eleven, affluent, free-world nations, and it rates the U.S. last among all eleven. Yet the U.S. is regarded as the wealthiest nation in the world. Those nations researched are the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland.
This assertion about superior U.S. health-care is often made by people on the far right of the political spectrum who advocate against any form of socialized medicine, even sometimes associating it with communism and fascism in a supposed effort to support democracy. But many of those eleven countries have socialized medicine, and their democracies seem to be doing better than ours lately.
The Commonwealth Fund’s research used 71 factors based on surveys conducted in each country as well as data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the World Health Organization. So, Fund’s research results can hardly be accused of bias. Categories analyzed were access to care, the care process, administrative efficiency, equity and health-care outcomes.
J. Stephen Morrison–director of the Global Health Policy Center at the Center for Strategic and International Studies–called these findings by the Commonwealth Fund, “a pretty stark indictment of the United States.”
All of this is reported in an article today in The Washington Post. Even more astonishing is the chart that shows the results of this research, in which all ten countries are bunched tightly together with the U.S. far apart at the bottom. Here it is: