Survey Says U.S. Healthcare System Stinks

| Jan 28, 2008

A survey of people's experience with healthcare in seven countries - Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States - shows that we Americans don't stack up very well.

We spend more than twice as much on healthcare as the other countries, yet one-third of us say our healthcare needs fixing - far more than in any other country.

And we're the only country where a significant percentage of our people is without health insurance: about one-third of the U.S. population is either uninsured or underinsured.

The survey, sponsored by the Commonwealth Fund, polled 12,000 people in the seven countries by telephone. Among its findings are that we have the highest out-of-pocket costs and the most difficulty paying our medical bills. We're more likely to go without needed care when sick because we can't pay for it, and one-fifth of us has trouble paying our medical bills - more than twice as many as in any other country.

Thirty-seven percent of us say that costs have kept us from taking prescriptions, seeing a doctor when sick, or receiving recommended care. In other countries the rates were far lower, especially in the Netherlands, Canada and the United Kingdom.

People in all countries reported that having an accessible "medical home" that coordinates their medical care helps them considerably with costs, preventive care, and outcomes. (A medical home consists of a regular doctor or place of care; caregivers who actually know important information about their patients; caregivers who are easy to get hold of by phone during office hours; and caregivers who coordinate care with one another.) In the United States, 53 percent of insured and 26 percent of uninsured adults under age 65 have a medical home.

Source: National Association of Healthcare Access Management

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Posted by Anonymous on 29 January 2008

The U.S. is not Australia, Canada, Germany, etc. We are 300 MILLION, very diverse citizens--a much larger and very demanding clientele. We absorb more immigrants per year than the rest of the world COMBINED; and many of them are unlikely to be insured.

I have had health care in some of those countries listed, and I definitely prefer U.S. health care. The U.S. has excellent care, so the notion that it's better elsewhere is flat wrong.

The U.S. spends more on health care, in part, because we HAVE more money.

The number of uninsured as a percent of the population is about where it was 10 or 15 years ago.

The idea behind national health care in the U.S. is more about political power than it is on improving options for everyday people.

There are a number of things that ought to be done with taxes and health insurance that would greatly improve how we obtain health care in the U.S.

Then there are federal programs that need revamping or repeal, like EMTALA, HIPPA, SCHIP, Medicare, Medicaid, etc.

There are people getting subsidies if they join Medicaid, but getting nothing if they purchase private insurance. In this way, public policy encourages people to be on Medicaid. Similarly, public policy encourages parents in low-income families to put their children on SCHIP, instead of getting private insurance, etc. Every time we spend a dollar on Medicaid or Medicare, the private sector contracts its spending on health care. Government is encouraging people to be uninsured.

Government-mandated care is not the solution. The U.S. is an entrepreneurial society that can find sound solutions appropriately tailored to its needs.

Posted by Anonymous on 31 January 2008

if our system stinks then please go somewhere else to get your care.and advise the people who come here to get there care they better find another place

Posted by Anonymous on 31 January 2008

The US system is broken. I'm 37 and was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in June 2007. My husband and I started a business about a year before that. Thank god we decided I should keep my corporate job until the business was stable. Now I'm uninsureable. I don't mind paying for healthcare insurance, but why is it tied to my job? Should I stay at a job I don't like just to receive insurance? Should I become one of the uninsured? Neither option makes sense.

Posted by Anonymous on 31 January 2008

"if our system stinks then please go somewhere else " ?????
this is the ignorant type of statment and mentality which makes usa the laughing stock of the world.
the topic concerns the quality of medical care in a range of countries, not the opinions of a bigot and racist.
I have lived in UK, australia, italy and usa, using medical facilities in each and the usa is by far the most expensive (try $1056 premiums per month + $200-300 rx - co pays!!) has the longest wait times for appointments and generally (but obviously not always) doctors that inspire the least confidence in my experience.
So my "leaving" as suggested, will not improve medical care here for those needing help.
Without a job having medical benefits , diabetics and others have to constantly cling to any coverage the insurance companies cannot squirm out of but are punished with extortionate costts.
there seem to few options if you are an average joe who happens to work for themselves

Posted by Anonymous on 31 January 2008

In a free enterprisesystem such as ours, the incentive is to earn profit from (not heal) the sick.
Prescription drug side effects and medical error CREATE problems; rarely do they actually solve them. The economy would suffer if BIG MED/PHARMA could not prey upon their vulnerable, ignorant victims.

Posted by Anonymous on 31 January 2008

The only comment of the 3 I've read that I agree with in any part is the one that begins "The US system is broken." Those people who reacted with criticism to those people who see problems with healthcare in the U.S. obviously have no such problems themselves. It's easy to overlook the difficulties others have! Also, the article mostly addresses the cost and the availability of health care in the U.S., NOT it's quality. The quality is great...when you can get the health care at all. Health care should be available to all, in my opinion, no matter what thier circumstances of employment, age, or anything else!

Posted by ricklude on 1 February 2008

ANY so called "free" state sponcered health care system is the pits! Factual horror stories abound about them from their citizens AND visitors!!!!!

The U.S. system IS NOT "broken" and it never has been!

The only problem with our US health care system is many people can't afford to pay for treatment or services. Other wise, it's of the best quality in the world.

And it is ONLY these same people who are pushing for a government sponcered, tax payer funded, "free ride" health care system.

The REAL problem is WHY these people can't afford it! There are WAY TOO MANY MOOCHERS OUT THERE, with their hands out crying, "gimmie, gimmie, gimmie"!!!!!

The government should FIX what it has screwed up already and stay out of business!

Posted by Anonymous on 3 February 2008

Making a 600 % profit off of human suffering is WRONG! Let me say that again: Making scads of money off of human suffering is EVIL!

This is not the same country that I remember
it to be when I was younger. We cared about
each other...Doctor's made home visits and your insurance that you paid for covered everything...and I mean everything.

The American Health care system is broken!
No American should ever have to be denied
health care because they can not afford it!

I have worked since I was 14 and I am now 57. I can tell you that I would rather have money taken out of the taxes I pay (which is a lot) for my health care instead of sending billions of dollars to other countries (from my tax money). We need to take care of our own, first.

The bottom-line is if you get a terminal illness the average American can not afford the costs incurred (with or without health insurance). The insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, AMA, nursing homes, hospitals, doctors will take every thing that you monetarily own and worked hard for all of your life. Yep! That is now what we call true Democracy! It is about the almighty dollar not about human beings!

Both of my parents died of cancer and private
corporations and the government took their life savings because of their terminal illnesses. My father had to work (even though he was too sick) to maintain medical insurance because of the outrageous costs
of health care. He retired from his job of
30 + years on his death bed without the opportunity to enjoy his retirement.

Every day over the telephone, I fight those so-called wonderful insurance companies to get them to pay their claims that they are required to do. They will cheat you in a New York minute! They do everything they can to deny your claims. They are in business to make money off of human suffering. I have diabetes; high blood pressure; heart problems; and other medical problems. I too will have to work until I die even though I am eligible to retire, because I have to maintain my health insurance to help offset some of my medical costs.

I spent three days in a local county hospital after coming through the emergency room due to a mini-stroke. The hospital staff was amazed that I had insurance. They told me look around...all of these people don't have insurance and don't have to pay. I received a bill for $15,000.00 for the three days that I spent in that hospital. My insurance payed a portion (90%) and I am stuck with the rest. Now that was only the room charges...It did not include Doctor's fees; medicine; tests; etc. Because I have a job and am a tax paying citizen I have to pay, but the illegal aliens who were
predominate in the ER paid nothing and received the same care that I did. In effect I am paying for people to receive the same health care that I do who are not even American citizens. As a tax-paying American citizen, I am being penalized for being an American.

There is no justice in this. We presently have a lobbyist form of government; not a representative form of government. The lobbyist contribute to the campaigns of those
who run for political office who in turn will never develop a National Health Insurance or National Health care plan, because the Insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies are represented by those lobbyists who contribute to the coffers of our so-called representatives in Congress and the
White House.

For those of you who state that Socialized Medicine is no good and does not work I can only say: "Today, I saw an elderly couple on a fixed income who were attempting to fill their prescriptions and were on Medicare at a Wal Mart Pharmacy. The pharmacist coldly advised them that Plan B of Medicare did not cover their prescription. The elderly lady who was in a wheel chair, who was evidently in pain, told the pharmacist if she did not get the medicine that she needed that she would die. The pharmacist unfeelingly repeated: "There is nothing I can do! Please move on!" Her husband who was wearing a base ball cap, that said God Bless America, quietly wheeled her away!

Such is the "final solution" for our capitalistic society! No one cares anymore and people die every day because they can not afford medication to keep them alive! Now remember that those people are someone's father; mother; son; brother; sister; etc.
They are retired loving people who have worked hard all of their life only to be sent off to die because of a health care system and a country who has failed them.

Some day that elderly couple or person will be you!

Think about it!

Posted by Selazar on 28 February 2008

It is amazing re so much anger at the poor in this country. True, there are people who milk the system. But on average the middle class and poor working/non working folks are just trying to keep above water. Who is going to hire a man or woman 55yrs old or above with diabetic or cardiac problems? Who will insure them? I work in hospital as a diabetes educator. I am telling whoever is reading this that our system IS broken! Good honest people who have lost jobs or now have uninsurable illnesses are struggling to survive. Anyone who does not see this lives in an ivory tower because this country is turning in to the halves/and the nots. Again look at the anger directed to the poor in just these few letters.

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