The Journal of the American Medical Association has published a major cross-national study of “the health status of the United States and to compare US health outcomes with those of 34 OECD countries.”
The good news? “Overall, population health in the United States improved from 1990 to 2010. Life expectancy at birth and HALE [Healthy Life Expectancy] increased and all-cause death rates at all ages decreased.”
The bad news?
The United States spends the most per capita on health care across all countries, lacks universal health coverage, and lags behind other high-income countries for life expectancy and many other health outcome measures. High costs with mediocre population health outcomes at the national level are compounded by marked disparities across communities, socioeconomic groups, and race and ethnicity groups. Although overall life expectancy has slowly risen, the increase has been slower than for many other high-income countries. In addition, in some US counties, life expectancy has decreased in the past 2 decades, particularly for women.
Figure 4 sums it all up for a variety of diseases, with the numbers in each box signifying the ranking for each condition, with 1 being the highest and 34 the lowest. We see that it is only with stroke that the US performs above average.
(You can see larger version by following the link.)
I just wish people would stop claiming that the US has the best health care in the world.