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The United States’ Healthcare System Ranks Poorly

By: Cohen, Placitella & Roth @ Aug 9, 2017

As one of the wealthiest countries, and one that spends about $9,000 per person each year on healthcare, it would logically follow that the U.S. has one of the best healthcare systems in the world. However, a recent global health scorecard found that the U.S. is lacking, with the results being called “an embarrassment” by the report’s chief author, Dr. Christopher J. L. Murray.

How Countries Were Scored

According to an article in The New York Times, the health scorecard report first looked at countries–and judged them–based on their relative wealth, and the increase in wealth from the year 1990 to 2015. Then, it looked at how well they executed healthcare measures based on wealth. For example, poorer countries were ranked based on how well they did some of the most basic healthcare-related tasks, such as vaccinations, whereas middle-income countries were based on more complicated healthcare needs, like the number of successful basic surgeries, the number of maternal deaths, etc.

The richest of countries, the U.S. included, were judged based on how well they performed high and low-level healthcare tasks, ranging from vaccinations to treating cancer and beyond.

How Countries Performed

The country that was the most highly ranked was Andorra, followed by Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and Australia (not in that order). The countries that ranked the lowest were the Central African Republic, Somalia, and Afghanistan. Many countries that were not ranked at the top still showed some of the greatest improvements in healthcare over the years relative to increases in economic wealth. For example, China, Turkey, Peru, and a number of other countries showed what the report refers to as significant improvements in “deaths avoidable through healthcare at their economic level.”

While there were a handful of countries that got worse at treating their citizens’ healthcare needs even as the countries gained wealth over the years–including South Africa, India, Indonesia–America’s performance was surprisingly bad. In fact, the U.S. ranked 35th, getting poorer marks than many countries it competes with economically in areas like diabetes management, heart disease treatment, the treatment of certain cancers.

What’s Next for Healthcare in the U.S.?

The scorecard–and the United States’ subpar performance on it–brings to light the looming question of what will happen to healthcare in the country. With the repeal of the Affordable Care Act brewing, and a president with proposed healthcare plan that will leave many uninsured, and many others with higher healthcare costs than they are currently paying, questions about quality of care need to be taken seriously. What’s more, when people do receive care, care should be excellent; medical errors and medical malpractice mistakes that cause harm and costs lives are unacceptable.

At the law offices of Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C. we firmly believe that everyone deserves access to high quality care. If you believe that your doctor has breached the standard of care owed to you through an act of medical malpractice, please contact us today for a free consultation.

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