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US Still Last in Quality of Health Care, First in Cost

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 (Washington Post) – A report released Monday by a respected think tank ranks the United States dead last in the quality of its health care system when compared with 10 other Western, industrialized nations, the same spot it occupied in four previous studies by the same organization. Not only did the U.S. fail to move up between 2004 and 2014 – as other nations did with concerted effort and significant reforms – it also has maintained this dubious distinction while spending far more per capita ($8,508) on health care than Norway ($5,669), which has the second most expensive system.

“Although the U.S. spends more on health care than any other country and has the highest proportion of specialist physicians, survey findings indicate that from the patients’ perspective, and based on outcome indicators, the performance of American health care is severely lacking,” the Commonwealth Fund, a foundation in New York that promotes improved health care, concluded in its extensive analysis.

The data for the 2014 report was collected before the Affordable Care Act went into full effect, so that reform may eventually boost the U.S. out of last place by providing health insurance to some of the 50 million people who lacked it.

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