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The US healthcare system ranked last overall among 11 high-income countries in an analysis by the nonprofit Commonwealth Fund, according to a report released today.
David Blumenthal, MD, president of the Commonwealth Fund, told reporters during a press briefing.
Researchers analyzed survey answers from tens of thousands of patients and physicians in 11 countries. They analyzed performance on 71 measures across five categories — access to care, care process, administrative efficiency, equity, and healthcare outcomes. Administrative data were gathered from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the World Health Organization (WHO)
|Dr Eric Schneider|
Norway, the Netherlands, and Australia were ranked at the top overall in that order. Rounding out the 11 in overall ranking were (4) the UK, (5) Germany, (6) New Zealand, (7) Sweden, (8) France, (9) Switzerland, (10) Canada, and (11) the United States.
First is expanding insurance coverage, he said, noting that the United States is only one of the 11 countries that lacks universal coverage and nearly 30 million people remain uninsured.
Top-performing countries in the survey have universal coverage, annual out-of-pocket caps on covered benefits, and full coverage for primary care and treatment for chronic conditions, he said.
The United States must also improve access to care, he said.
"Top-ranking countries like the Netherlands and Norway ensure timely availability to care by telephone on nights and weekends, and in-person follow-up at home, if needed," he said.