KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Survey: U.S. Health Care Gets The Least Bang For The Buck

News coverage continues to detail the findings of a Commonwealth Fund survey that placed the U.S. last among other Western industrialized countries when it comes to measures of healthy lives. The study notes the U.S. has the highest level of spending, but gets the least bang for the buck. Access to care is a persistent trouble spot - although USA Today notes the survey relied on data collected before the health law was implemented fully.

USA Today: Health Survey Ranks U.S. Last Among Rich Peers
The U.S. ranking reflects poor scores on measures of healthy lives — "mortality amenable to medical care," infant mortality and healthy life expectancy at age 60. The highest U.S. score was a 3, for "effective care." The USA also outranked its peers on preventive care and on speedy access to specialists. But the nation fares poorly on "access to needed services" and on getting prompt attention from primary care physicians. … What do the healthier cousins have that the United States does not? Universal health care, the Commonwealth Fund points out. Nonetheless, Canada limped just ahead of its southern neighbor in the survey. … Though the Affordable Care Act "is increasing the number of Americans with coverage and improving access to care," the latest survey relied on data from before the law was implemented fully. Still, the ACA "will further encourage the efficient organization and delivery of health care, as well as investment in important preventive and population health measures" (Winter, 6/14).

NBC News: We're Last! Again! U.S. Health Care Ranks Poorly
The latest look at the U.S. health care system compared to other rich countries shows — yet again — that the United States comes in dead last. Americans spend far more per person on medical care, yet are less healthy than people in 10 other countries. The system is less fair than systems in other rich countries and it’s far less efficient, ranking last of 11 nations, the Commonwealth Fund report reads. The nonprofit Commonwealth Fund has been publishing its report — based on data from the World Health Organization, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and its own research — for a decade (Fox, 6/16).

CBS News: U.S. Health Care System Ranks Lowest In International Survey
The U.S. spends more money on health care compared with other industrialized countries, but Americans still get the least bang for their buck -- and many still don't have access to care -- according to a report just published by the Commonwealth Fund. The report from the private health care research foundation examined data on expenditures, delivery and access to health care services among 11 industrialized countries: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the U.K. and the U.S. Overall, the U.K. and Switzerland were rated highest for factors that included quality, access, efficiency and equity of health care (Firger, 6/16).

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