Now that I’ve picked on Saudi Arabia’s health care system through my quasi-review of Paramedic to the Prince, let me pick on America’s health care system.
Here’s an article from Reuters that shows that the U.S. has proportionally the most preventable deaths due to treatable causes of the 19 industrialized nations in the study.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – France, Japan and Australia rated best and the United States worst in new rankings focusing on preventable deaths due to treatable conditions in 19 leading industrialized nations, researchers said on Tuesday. If the U.S. health care system performed as well as those of those top three countries, there would be 101,000 fewer deaths in the United States per year, according to researchers writing in the journal Health Affairs.
[Researcher Ellen] Nolte said the large number of Americans who lack any type of health insurance — about 47 million people in a country of about 300 million, according to U.S. government estimates — probably was a key factor in the poor showing of the United States compared to other industrialized nations in the study.
“I wouldn’t say it (the last-place ranking) is a condemnation, because I think health care in the U.S. is pretty good if you have access. But if you don’t, I think that’s the main problem, isn’t it?” Nolte said in a telephone interview.
Was it Rudy Giuliani who recently dissed France’s health care system?
France did best — with 64.8 deaths deemed preventable by timely and effective health care per 100,000 people, in the study period of 2002 and 2003. Japan had 71.2 and Australia had 71.3 such deaths per 100,000 people. The United States had 109.7 such deaths per 100,000 people, the researchers said.
The research was backed by the Commonwealth Fund, a private New York-based health policy foundation.
“It is startling to see the U.S. falling even farther behind on this crucial indicator of health system performance,” Commonwealth Fund Senior Vice President Cathy Schoen said.
“The fact that other countries are reducing these preventable deaths more rapidly, yet spending far less, indicates that policy, goals and efforts to improve health systems make a difference,” Schoen added in a statement.
It’s not clear to me why so many Americans vote against improving health care. I know that Charles Dickens’s books are fun to read, but I don’t want to live in a society like the one he portrayed. I hope for no little match girls dying of consumption or exposure in America of the twenty-first century.