Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Friday, June 20, 2014

American Exceptionalism, once more . . .

This gets old, I know, but the Commonwealth Fund has once again released is report comparing U.S. health care to other wealthy countries and once again we are the pits. As in dead last, 11th out of 11. The competitors are western European countries and Canada.

Apparently its' good to be pinko. The United Kingdom, which is the only country on the list to have actual socialized medicine -- you know, government run health care, big gummint bureaucrats employing your doctor and telling her what to do -- is number 1. There isn't really a trend in that direction however. Switzerland, which has a version of Obamacare, is number 2.

Obviously, you can quarrel with the criteria. But the U.S. fares very badly on most of them, and that includes the bottom line -- the U.S. is dead last on "healthy lives," that is outcomes amenable to health care. The UK was not good on that one either, but they spend half as much as we do and still get slightly better results. And here is the main reason why we are for shit:

The U.S. ranks a clear last on measures of equity. Americans with below-average incomes were much more likely than their counterparts in other countries to report not visiting a physician when sick; not getting a recommended test, treatment, or follow-up care; or not filling a prescription or skipping doses when needed because of costs. On each of these indicators, one-third or more lower-income adults in the U.S. said they went without needed care because of costs in the past year.
If it's really more important to your average moderate income voter that rich people not pay taxes than it is to solve this problem, then by all means vote Republican. They're on your side with that.

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