A new study from the Commonwealth Fund ranks big-country health care systems on a variety of measures, including such desirables as access to care, patient safety, cost, efficiency and equity. Perhaps predictably, the US comes in last in almost all categories, except for price. It’s a tired refrain now: We pay more, and get less, than citizens in any other developed country.
Why? Lobbies, and vested interests of drug companies, HMOs, doctors, etc. Political intransigence. Propaganda: The Harry and Louise ads against Hillary’s reforms in 1993 were extremely effective. Again and again, we’re frightened out of investing in “socialized medicine” like what those dark-agers in Canada and Britain have, while we tinker ineffectively with what people used to call the best system in the world.
Maybe if we hadn’t wasted a couple-some billions of dollars on Iraq, the next administration would have the financial resources to cushion a transition to a working system.
A personal note: One reason we’re leery of moving back to the US is figuring out a way of affording health insurance without working for a big company. Our expatriates’ insurance, which we just renewed for a second year, now refuses to cover us in the US at all. Ah, America…