Study: U.S. Lags Behind Other Wealthy Countries in Health Outcomes

The U.S. performs worse than its wealthy peers in nearly every major measure of health and well-being measured in a recent study, despite spending far more on health care.

Article By:  Elliott Davis Jr.

Blog Source From : https://www.usnews.com/

Americans have the lowest life expectancy at birth and the highest avoidable death rates when compared to their peer countries, despite the U.S. spending far more on health care, according to a study released Tuesday.

The findings from The Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation that promotes high-performing health care in the U.S., paint a grim picture of health in the U.S., especially after enduring several years of the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. leads 12 other members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a forum of 38 wealthy countries, in just about every category of negative health outcomes studied by the foundation, from assault death rate to infant and maternal mortality.

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This is in spite of the U.S. being an outlier when it comes to health care spending. For example, the country spent nearly 18% of its gross domestic product on health care in 2021, according to The Commonwealth Fund. The next closest spender was Germany at just under 13%, while the OECD average was 9.6%. America’s total health care spending is close to twice that of Germany and at least three times the amount spent by the countries at the bottom of the list (JapanNew Zealand and South Korea).


Because the U.S. is the only high-income country that doesn’t guarantee health coverage, it is also the only country studied where voluntary health insurance spending is higher than government or compulsory health insurance spending, The Commonwealth Fund authors note.

These findings make the state of health in the country all the more concerning, at least in relative terms. The U.S.’s life expectancy at birth – 77 – is close to three years below the OECD average, and is marred by ever-present racial and ethnic disparities. America’s maternal and infant mortality rates are much higher than those of fellow wealthy countries like Canada and New Zealand. South Korea has by far the highest suicide rate per 100,000, but the U.S. still ranks third, with a rate that is above the OECD average.

America is far outpacing its peers in other categories as well, such as avoidable deaths and deaths by assault. The assault mortality data is especially troubling: The U.S. rate of 7.4 per 100,000 is more than five times that of the next closest competitor. The country similarly sets itself apart from others internationally when it comes to gun ownership and firearm-related deaths, according to other sources, including the nonpartisan data center USAFacts.

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The Commonwealth Fund recommends that U.S. policymakers and other officials address health care affordability, cost containment and prevention. And while the results outlined in the study aren’t inspiring for America, the foundation has hopes for improvement.

“Other countries have found ways to do these things well; the U.S. can as well,” the authors write.”

The other countries studied were Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, SwitzerlandSweden and the United Kingdom. The Commonwealth Fund culled the most recent data available from the OECD, Our World in Data and its own 2020 International Health Policy Survey.

Tags: healthwomen’s healthchildren’s healthmental healthhealth carehealth insurancepandemicUnited States

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