Friday, August 04, 2017

Are we getting our money's worth from our health investment?

It doesn't look that way when you look at a recent study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The organization looked at 35 countries in the OECD. We rank 27th in life expectancy. We have the fourth highest infant mortality rate, the sixth highest maternal mortality rate and the ninth highest likelihood of dying at a younger age from a host of ailments, including cardiovascular disease and cancer. We are the most obese country, lead in drug-related deaths and rank 33rd in prevalence of diabetes. We also spend more per capita on prescription medicines and over-the-counter products than any other country. 

Does the fact that we don't have a single-payer health system have any effect on these results? Unlike other countries in the OECD, the U.S. mostly relies on voluntary health insurance to fund health-care costs. Public health insurance, such as Medicare and Medicaid, accounts for 27 percent of coverage. By contrast, the 10 countries with the highest life expectancy depend on voluntary insurance for an average of less than 6 percent of their costs, and government spending for nearly half.

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