Health care: ‘We’re #11!’

The U.S. has a lousy health care system, a new survey says. But don’t rush to blame it on the Affordable Care Act. We’ve had a lousy health care system for 10 years. The survey data for the year was taken before ACA went into effect, but experts say the ACA alone won’t make much difference. That’s how bad our health care system is.

The survey released today shows the U.S. is dead last among industrial states, according to the Commonwealth Fund.

We pay more for health care than any other country.

Commonweath Fund

And yet it’s the least efficient care…


The report suggested universal health care could make a difference.

Other nations ensure the accessibility of care through universal health systems and through better ties between patients and the physician practices that serve as their medical homes. The Affordable Care Act is increasing the number of Americans with coverage and improving access to care, though the data in this report are from years prior to the full implementation of the law. Thus, it is not surprising that the U.S. underperforms on measures of access and equity between populations with above- average and below-average incomes.

The U.S. also ranks behind most countries on many measures of health outcomes, quality, and efficiency. U.S. physicians face particular difficulties receiving timely information, coordinating care, and dealing with administrative hassles. Other countries have led in the adoption of modern health information systems, but U.S. physicians and hospitals are catching up as they respond to significant financial incentives to adopt and make meaningful use of health information technology systems. Additional provisions in the Affordable Care Act will further encourage the efficient organization and delivery of health care, as well as investment in important preventive and population health measures.

Related: Five ways the American health care system is literally the worst (Vox).