Where US Health Care Ranks Number One – Where it Counts

Posted on January 8, 2010. Filed under: Healthcare |

Excellent article!!! Now you will know what to say when folks quote the WHO report that says the US is rated number 37 in the world for overall performance of healthcare. Did you know that the “Overall Performance Index” is adjusted to reflect how well WHO officials believe that a country COULD HAVE DONE IN RELATION TO ITS RESOURCES. They believe the US could have done better because we don’t have universal healthcare, so they rate us low. Bottom line, the scale is very subjective.

Read below to find out the accurate statistics on how good our healthcare really is!! We have done more for healthcare and medicine than any country in the world!!

Where U.S. Health Care Ranks Number One

Isn’t ‘responsiveness’ what medicine is all about?

By MARK B. CONSTANTIAN

Last August the cover of Time pictured President Obama in white coat and stethoscope. The story opened: “The U.S. spends more to get less [health care] than just about every other industrialized country.” This trope has dominated media coverage of health-care reform. Yet a majority of Americans opposes Congress’s health-care bills. Why?

The comparative ranking system that most critics cite comes from the U.N.’s World Health Organization (WHO). The ranking most often quoted is Overall Performance, where the U.S. is rated No. 37. The Overall Performance Index, however, is adjusted to reflect how well WHO officials believe that a country could have done in relation to its resources.

The scale is heavily subjective: The WHO believes that we could have done better because we do not have universal coverage. What apparently does not matter is that our population has universal access because most physicians treat indigent patients without charge and accept Medicare and Medicaid payments, which do not even cover overhead expenses. The WHO does rank the U.S. No. 1 of 191 countries for “responsiveness to the needs and choices of the individual patient.” Isn’t responsiveness what health care is all about?

Data assembled by Dr. Ronald Wenger and published recently in the Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons indicates that

• cardiac deaths in the U.S. have fallen by two-thirds over the past 50 years

• Polio has been virtually eradicated

• Childhood leukemia has a high cure rate

• Eight of the top 10 medical advances in the past 20 years were developed or had roots in the U.S.

• The Nobel Prizes in medicine and physiology have been awarded to more Americans than to researchers in all other countries combined.

• Eight of the 10 top-selling drugs in the world were developed by U.S. companies

• The U.S. has some of the highest breast, colon and prostate cancer survival rates in the world.

• Our country ranks first or second in the world in kidney transplants, liver transplants, heart transplants, total knee replacements, coronary artery bypass, and percutaneous coronary interventions

• We have the shortest waiting time for nonemergency surgery in the world

England has one of the longest. In Canada, a country of 35 million citizens, 1 million patients now wait for surgery and another million wait to see specialists.

When my friend, cardiac surgeon Peter Alivizatos, returned to Greece after 10 years heading the heart transplantation program at Baylor University in Dallas, the one-year heart transplant survival rate there was 50%—five-year survival was only 35%. He soon increased those numbers to 94% one-year and 90% five-year survival, which is what we achieve in the U.S. So the next time you hear that the U.S. is No. 37, remember that Greece is No. 14. Cuba, by the way, is No. 39.

But the issue is only partly about quality. As we have all heard, the U.S. spends a higher percentage of its gross domestic product for health care than any other country.

Actually, health-care spending now increases more moderately than it has in previous decades. Food, energy, housing and health care consume the same share of American spending today (55%) that they did in 1960 (53%).

So what does this money buy? Certainly some goes to inefficiencies, corporate profits, and costs that should be lowered by professional liability reform and national, free-market insurance access by allowing for competition across state lines. But the majority goes to a long list of advantages that American citizens now expect: the easiest access, the shortest waiting times the widest choice of physicians and hospitals, and constant availability of health care to elderly Americans. What we need now is insurance and liability reform—not health-care reform.

Who determines how much a nation should pay for its health? Is 17% too much, or too little? What better way could there be to dedicate our national resources than toward the health and productivity of our citizens?

Perhaps it’s not that America spends too much on health care, but that other nations don’t spend enough.

LINK: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704130904574644230678102274.html

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